Spanish lawmaker hopeful about justice for slain Honduran activist

    22 de octubre de 2018

    Tegucigalpa, Oct 22 (efe-epa).- Spanish lawmaker Pedro Arrojo said here Monday that he expects that the process against the eight suspects of the 2016 murder of Honduran environmentalist Berta Caceres ends in the capture of those who ordered the killing.

    Arrojo said in an interview with EFE that he trusts that the numerous "civil demonstrations" sparking up all over the country, coupled with the "humanitarian awareness of the people of Honduras" and international pressure, will make the trial mark a before and after in the history of Honduras and Latin America."

    "With the evidence that seems to be present, the normal thing would be for a more profound investigation to be carried out to find the real masterminds," the Spaniard said.

    Caceres, founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and an award-winning environmental activist who opposed hydroelectric power projects, was killed on March 3, 2016, at her home in the western city of La Esperanza.

    The eight defendants include active-duty and retired military officers and executives with Desarrollo Energeticos (DESA), which was at odds with Caceres over her intentions to stop the company from building a hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River.

    Arrojo also said that he told ambassadors from European Union member-states in Tegucigalpa that murders like Caceres's "are not gang-related murders, but a result of generalized violence or violence against women."

    He added that failure to address the root cause of these crimes - namely the interests of large hydroelectric companies - will impede de administration of justice and cause further damage to local communities and more environmentalists and human rights defenders to be murdered.

    Arrojo pointed to "fears" that the trial will not be transparent, as he believes that there have been many "irregularities" in the process, including failure from the court to provide friends and lawyers of the slain activist with all the information regarding the investigation.

    He said that Caceres's relatives fear the flaws in the process could lay the grounds for successful appeals against conviction, adding that he was "perplexed" when the court forbade an attorney representing the Caceres family to take part in the trial.