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Honduran prosecutors to charge another in activist’s murder

by Freddy Cuevas, for AP

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduran prosecutors said Tuesday they plan to bring charges against a former executive who they allege was a mastermind behind the murder of environmental activist Berta Caceres.

The chief prosecutor’s office said it would seek formal charges against Roberto David Castillo Mejia for his alleged role at a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

That hearing, however, was postponed at the request of Caceres’ family.

Castillo was president of Empresa Desarollos Energeticos when Caceres was killed in 2016. Caceres led the fight against the company’s construction of a dam, and was honored with a Goldman Environmental Prize.

Juan Carlos Sanchez, Castillo’s lawyer, said that prosecutors had little evidence against his client.

“We have refuted all of that evidence,” Sanchez said. “There’s growing doubt because we have done our own investigation.”

Castillo was arrested in 2018 and remains in custody.

Carlos Morazan, spokesman for the prosecutors’ office, said investigators had plentiful evidence against Castillo. He said the hearing would be rescheduled later this month.

Prosecutors “are prepared to take this trial to the very end to find the truth and make the public aware.”

Caceres’ sister, Agustina Caceres, expressed satisfaction with prosecutors’ pursuit of Castillo.

“We have suffered a lot and we continue suffering seeing the slowness and weakness of Honduran justice,” Caceres said. “Hopefully (prosecutors) will be successful in their efforts to know what really happened.”

In November, a court found seven people guilty of participating in Caceres’ murder. An eighth suspect was acquitted.

Prosecutors said in their statement that Castillo was in charge of providing logistics and other resources to one of the convicted killers.

Lawyers for company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.