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    Man who coordinated Honduras activist’s murder sentenced

    TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS (AP) – The man convicted last year of coordinating the killing of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres was sentenced on Monday to more than 22 years in prison, upsetting the victim’s family because the penalty was significantly below the maximum.

    A judge sentenced Roberto David Castillo Mejía to 22 years and six months in prison for the murder of Cáceres, a member of the Lenca Indigenous group who led opposition to a dam project in which Castillo Mejía was involved. He will be able to appeal.

    Olivia Zúniga Cáceres, daughter of the activist who protested with others outside the court, said she would make every effort to seek a more severe sentence.

    In December 2019, seven men were sentenced to prison for Cáceres’ murder. Four were sentenced to 34 years for the murder and 16 years for attempted murder. The three others received sentences of 30 years for their roles.

    At the time, prosecutors said the killers acted on behalf of a company, Desa, that was building a dam being opposed by the activist. Castillo Mejía, who heads the project, was arrested in 2018.

    Castillo Mejía allegedly paid the hitmen, gave logistical support and provided resources to those already convicted, according to prosecutors.

    Cáceres won the prestigious Goldman Prize for her environmental activism in 2015. She was slain at her home in La Esperanza on March 3, 2016.

    Roberto David Castillo on his arrival in court in Tegucigalpa. PHOTO: AFP
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