Thursday, September 08, 2016

Honduras Arrests Sixth Suspect in Berta Caceres Murder Case
Activists demand justice for Berta Caceres in front of a police line in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 17, 2016. | Photo: AFP

8 September 2016

The suspect was arrested six months after the murder of the prominent indigenous activist.
Honduran authorities arrested Thursday another suspect accused of involvement in the murder of high-profile environmentalist and indigenous leader Berta Caceres.

Elvin Heriberto Rapalo, also known as El Comanche, was arrested in San Pedro Zacapa, in the western province of Santa Barbara. According to the Agency of Criminal Investigation, Rapalo was the individual who shot at point-blank range Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, who accompanied Caceres the night she was killed.

In Caceres’ case, five suspects have been accused of her murder, including two men with links to DESA, the Honduran energy corporation Desarrollos Energeticos SA that was granted the concession to build the high-contested Agua Zarca dam on the Gualcarque River, considered sacred in the Indigenous spirituality of the Lenca people in western Honduras. Caceres, along with her COPINH organization, fought for years to halt Agua Zarca, and suffered a slew of death threats and other harassment as a result of her activism before her murder in her home on March 3.

Caceres was shot dead in her home on March 3, despite being under police protection. The attackers also attempted to assassinate Castro, who returned to Mexico after being held in Honduras for questioning as the sole witness in the case for nearly a month, during which time his supporters claimed he suffered psychological torture.

Caceres death has brought international attention to Honduras and sparked renewed debate over the U.S. role in the 2009 coup and the ongoing human rights crisis that has erupted in its wake.

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