Honduran Court Allows Berta Cáceres Murder Witness To Return To Mexico

Sources are saying that the witness to Berta Cáceres’ murder has been released and allowed to fly back to Mexico, after the Honduran court system decided to hold him while they conducted an investigation into her assassination.

Gustavo Castro Soto, a coordinator for the organization Other Worlds Are Possible, was also wounded in the attack, taking a bullet in the cheek and hand.

Other Worlds Are Possible published details about his release, and also mentioned that they as an organization will continue to work on getting justice, and to hold those responsible for Berta Cáceres’ assassination.

Telesur was one of the first publications to report on Berta Cáceres’ murder.

Democracy Now! also covered the issue of his detainment, which was discussed with one of his colleagues.

The report by Other Worlds goes further to detail how his rights were violated, right after Berta Cáceres was killed.

“As a Mexican citizen and as a witness and victim of attempted murder in Honduras, he has had the right all along to collaborate with the Honduran justice from his own country, in accord with the Treaty for Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters in effect between Honduras and Mexico.

“However, this right was violated by the Judge Victorina Flores Orellana who on March 7 issued the migratory alert for thirty days against Gustavo Castro, and by the Honduran General Attorney’s Office that took 24 days to revoke this measure. During this period, Gustavo has only been required to undertake two more procedures in the context of the investigation which, as mentioned earlier, could have taken place from Mexico.”

Berta Cáceres' death brings protests.
Protesters in Honduras, walk the streets demanding justice for the death of Berta Cáceres, for International Woman’s Day. [image by Daniel Lopez Garciavia Flickr | CC BY 2.0]
The article goes further to say that the Mexican government did not do enough, if anything at all, to negotiate with the Honduran government to have him released sooner. Berta Cáceres was the co-founder and coordinator of Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), which she started in 1993.

The group was meant to stand for the rights of indigenous people of Honduras, where they stood against illegal logging, or the presence of U.S. military on Lenca land.

In a web exclusive on Democracy Now!, the article points out that the Honduran government has given the go-ahead to various dam building projects, which has resulted in an increase of targeted assassinations, even mentioning the connection made between police forces and death squads.

Berta Cáceres often dealt with death squads
FILE – In this May 22, 2012 file photo, officer Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, known as ?El Tigre? or ?The Tiger? speaks to the press after he was sworn-in as Honduras’ new Chief of Police in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The U.S. government is withholding funds to Honduran law enforcement units directly supervised by their new national police chief until the U.S. can investigate allegations that he ran a death squad a decade ago, according to a State Department report released in August 2012. [Image by Fernando Antonio, File | AP Photo]
The Inquisitr reported back in 2013 that the national police denied using death squads, when local gangs accused them of killing their members or kidnapping them.

It also refers to an article on Huffington Post which quotes Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield, who talks about the U.S. working with the Honduran national police.

“The option is that if we don’t work with the police, we have to work with the armed forces, which almost everyone accepts to be worse than the police in terms of… taking matters in their own hands. Although the national police may have its defects at the moment, it is the lesser evil.”

Berta Cáceres was not the only member of the COPINH group murdered as only weeks after her death, on March 16, Nelson Garcia was reportedly shot in the face four times by unidentified gunmen, following a violent eviction of an indigenous Lenca community carried out by Honduran security forces according to The Guardian.

Telesur is also reporting that Berta Cáceres’ family is asking the Organization of American States to send a “renowned and experienced prosecutor or judge” following a call for an independent and internationally led investigation, as they do not trust the Honduran government to follow through.

[Image by YouTube]

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