Honduran Judges Decide Fate of Accused Mastermind in Activist’s Murder
After a five-year investigation, a Honduran court will deliver its verdict in the trial of David Castillo, the hydroelectric executive accused of plotting the brutal 2016 murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres.
The trial, which included almost three months of testimony, wraps up with arguments by defense attorneys who contend their client has been framed by a justice system that’s either corrupt, incompetent, or both. But before the judges retire for deliberations, they hear from people whose lives were most affected by the shocking crime—one which garnered international attention and condemnation.
Cáceres’s children urge the judges to grab hold of an historic opportunity: By convicting Castillo, they say, the court will send a powerful message that even the nation’s elite—the connected, the rich and the politically powerful— aren’t above the law.
Castillo himself speaks in court for the first time. Before he can, Cáceres’s children leave the courtroom, but he addresses them anyway. “I had nothing to do with her murder,” he says. “Neither directly nor indirectly. I want to underscore that. I did not participate at all.”
With that, the trial ends, and the judges adjourn to decide whether they believe him. Five days later, they call everyone back to the courtroom, to deliver their verdict.
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