Authorities in Honduras have issued an arrest warrant for the alleged mastermind in the case of the murdered Indigenous environmental leader Berta Cáceres.
Cáceres was gunned down in her home in March 2016 in retaliation for leading a campaign to stop the construction of an internationally financed hydroelectric dam.
On Friday, a court issued an arrest warrant for Daniel Atala Midence after prosecutors formally accused the former financial manager of the dam company, Desa, of masterminding the murder.
Cáceres, the coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Copinh), was best known for defending indigenous Lenca territory and natural resources, but she was also a respected political analyst, women’s rights defender, and anti-capitalist campaigner.
She was shot dead by hired hitmen on 2 March 2016, two days before her 45th birthday, after years of threats linked to her opposition to the 22-megawatt Agua Zarca dam on the Gualcarque River, which is considered sacred by the Lenca people.
Cáceres’s children welcomed the news of the charges and arrest warrant. Her oldest daughter, Olivia Zúniga Cáceres, who is the Honduran ambassador to Cuba, said the family was “praying for justice”.
“We hope for justice and an end to the impunity,” said lawyer Victor Fernández, who represents the family.
~Nina Lakhani is the author of Who Killed Berta Cáceres? Dams, Death Squads, and an Indigenous Defender’s Battle for the Planet