Dam Exec Arrested in Activist's Death

Roberto David Castillo is nabbed in Honduras
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 3, 2018 8:19 AM CST
Dam Exec Arrested in Activist's Death
Family, friends and activists gather outside the Prosecutor's Office to demand justice for the murder of environmental activist and Goldman Environmental Prize winner Berta Caceres, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Friday, March 2, 2018.   (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)

Honduran authorities arrested an executive with a dam development company Friday in the 2016 killing of indigenous and environmental activist Berta Caceres, calling him an intellectual author of a crime that sparked an international outcry, the AP reports. Roberto David Castillo Mejia, who at the time of the slaying was executive president of the company Desarrollos Energeticos SA, or DESA, was detained at an airport in San Pedro Sula as he was about to fly to Houston, Texas, says a spokesman for the prosecutors' office. It was the ninth arrest in the killing of Caceres, a Goldman Environmental Prize winner who was shot to death two years ago after attackers barged into her home in La Esperanza.

Castillo is charged with being an "intellectual author" in the crime, which generally applies to someone alleged to have been involved in a crime but not at the scene. Two others have been arrested for allegedly impeding the investigation. The Public Ministry alleges Castillo was "the person in charge of providing logistics and other resources to one of the material authors already being prosecuted for the crime." In a statement, DESA defended Castillo and its employees as innocent, saying they were "totally unconnected" to the crime and calling the "unjust detention" the result of "international pressure and campaigns by diverse NGOs to discredit the company." Caceres and her organization known as Copinh opposed DESA's Agua Zarca hydroelectric project, which is on her Lenca indigenous people's lands.

(More Honduras stories.)

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