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  • Berta Caceres

    Berta Caceres' assassination sparked huge local, national and international outrage. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 May 2016

The suspects, arrested in connection with the murder of Indigenous leader Berta Caceres, have links to the Honduran military.

After three days of hearinsg, a Honduran judge decided Sunday that the four suspects in the murder of renowned activist Berta Caceres will be tried for her assassination and held in Tamara prison in the country's capital until the trial.

Sole Witness of Caceres' Death Speaks Out

The men are accused of Caceres’ murder on March 3 and the attempted murder of Mexican environmental activist Gustavo Castro, the sole witness to the attack.

Evidence, including video footage from security cameras, shows the four suspects entering Caceres' home on the night of her killing.

Four suspects connected with the murder—retired Air Force lieutenant and DESA hydroelectric company private security chief Douglas Bustillo; DESA executive Sergio Rodriguez; high-ranking active military official Mariano Diaz; and retired military official Edilson Duarte—were arrested last Monday.

A fifth suspect, the twin brother of Edilson Duarte, Emerson Eusebio Duarte, was also arrested Monday but immediately released. He was recaptured on Friday for reportedly being in possession of the gun used to murder Caceres.

The suspects are connected to the Honduran military and DESA, the company behind the unwanted Agua Zarca hydroelectric project that Caceres and her COPINH Indigenous movement protested against for years.


Caceres' family has stressed that they want the masterminds behind the crime to face justice, not only those who pulled the trigger. The family’s lawyer has argued that a sixth person was also involved in the assassination.

Supporters and family members have demanded an independent, internationally-led investigation be conducted to uncover the truth behind Caceres’ murder, but Honduran authorities have not responded to national and international pressure. Relatives have said they have no confidence in the official government-headed investigation.

Prior to her murder, Caceres had received repeated death threats and other forms of harassment as a consequence of her activism against hydroelectric projects on Indigenous territory and the right-wing government’s neoliberal policies in the wake of the 2009 U.S.-backed coup that unleashed a human rights crisis in Honduras.

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