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Honduras: Seven men given prison sentences in the case of the murder of Berta Cáceres

A Honduras court sentenced seven men to prison for the 2016 murder of environmental activist Berta Caceres.  Five of those accused of the murder were sentenced to 50 years in jail and another two to a term of 30 years.  Those already convicted include an employee of the Honduran project operator Desarrollos Energeticos (DESA), an active-duty military officer, and a retired army officer who was a DESA employee.

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3 December 2019

Berta Caceres: Seven men sentenced to jail in Honduras

Author: Al Jazeera

…A Honduras court sentenced seven men to prison for the 2016 murder of environmental activist Berta Caceres, a killing that sparked international outrage…

Since 2006, she organised opposition to the $50m Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, where construction came to a halt after completing about one-fifth of the project.

"Five of those accused of the murder ... were sentenced to 50 years in jail and another two to a term of 30 years," said court spokeswoman Lucia Villars…

Activists criticised the dam on the Gualcarque River for what they said would probably cause significant disruptions to their water and food supply and faulted the project for a lack of required indigenous consultations…

Those already convicted include an employee of the Honduran project operator Desarrollos Energeticos (DESA), an active-duty military officer, and a retired army officer who was a DESA employee.

While DESA ran the project, Chinese state-owned Sinohydro, one of the world's largest dam developers, was originally contracted to build it but eventually backed out in 2013.

The sentences announced on Monday, nearly a year after the seven men were convicted, were harshly criticised by Caceres's daughter Olivia Zuniga, who alleged prosecutors sidestepped the main culprits…

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2 December 2019

BOLETÍN: Impunity doesn’t end with a sentence

Author: COPINH (Honduras)

...On December 2, 45 months after the crime and one year after the trial ended, the judiciary issued a judgment against seven material perpetrators for the murder of Berta Cáceres, indigenous leader and co-founder of COPINH and the attempt to murder against Gustavo Castro. Among those sentenced are workers of the company Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. and members of the Armed Forces of Honduras...

The Court, in the judgment, confirmed that Berta Cáceres’ leadership in defense of the Gualcarque River along with the resistance action of the Lenca people organized through COPINH “(…) caused the planning and mediation of the way to kill Mrs. Cáceres. all with the knowledge and consent of the executives of the DESA company, including Mr. Sergio Rodríguez and others who are not part of this process. ”

This reaffirms the denounce made since March 2, 2016, by Berta’s family and the COPINH: the murder of our companion Berta Cáceres was an action planned and organized by the executives of the company DESA, with the purpose of ending the resistance of the Lenca people and in complicity with the State of Honduras.

The prosecution and sentencing of the material authors is a necessary step and has been an achievement of the struggle of COPINH, the family, the Honduran people and the solidarity towards the breakdown of structural impunity. However, the Honduran State seeks to silence the pressures of the international community and public opinion...

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