A prominent human rights lawyer who represented agrarian peasant groups in altercations with large land owners in Honduras was killed on Sunday in the country’s capital Tegucigalpa, BBCreported.
Antonio Trejo Cabrera, 41, stepped outside a church where he was attending a wedding, on Sunday when he was fatally shot by an unknown gunman.
Practicing in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras, a fertile farming area where brutal competition between agrarian organizations and wealthy landowners occur frequently, Trejo represented three peasant cooperatives.
The Dinant Corporation, which billionaire Miguel Facusse owns, controlled much of the area. About 12,000 acres of plantation were seized from the Dinant Corporation by thousands of workers who were once-landless, The Associated Press reports.
Trejo had publicly stated that if he were killed, it would be by Faccuse’s will.
Many times Trejo had reported to the government that he had received death threats and had requested protection from the government, Trejo’s family told The Associated Press.
“Nobody cared,” his brother, Rigoberto Trejo, 35 said.
A law enforcement adviser from the US embassy who was already involved in a special investigation unit concentrating on the practices of the Honduran police will be investigating Trejo’s murder.
The official was not able to disclose details and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Honduras, thought to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world, is riddled with assassinations of lawyers, journalist and other public officials and often most are not prosecuted. Thus far, no arrests have been made in connection with Trejo’s murder.
According to activist, police and Facusse’s company, during the last three years, more than 60 people have been killed in the Bajo Aguan Valley, The Associated Press reports.
Motions were partially prepared by Trejo which declared a proposal between the Honduran government and the US company, MGK Group in which three privately owned cities would be built as unconstitutional.
The director at the Americas director Human Rights Watch, Jose Miguel Vivanco called for quick action from the Honduran government:
“Authorities need to act swiftly to bring to justice those responsible for Trejo’s murder, and send a clear message that attacks on human rights defenders will be dealt with firmly.”