Former Honduran soldier Henry Javier Hernandez Rodriguez, the eighth person arrested in connection with the murder of renowned Honduran Indigenous and environmental activist Berta Caceres, was sent to prison yesterday on the orders of Tegucigalpa, according to official sources.
The court’s spokeswoman, Barbara Castillo, told reporters that a judge with national jurisdiction, which she did not identify, issued a “judicial detention” order to Rodriguez. He was then sent to a prison in the sector of El Porvenir, province of Francisco Morazan, near the center of the country.
Rodriguez is accused of Caceres’ murder and the attempted murder against her colleague and Mexican environmentalist, Gustavo Castro. Castro, who happened to be with Caceres at the time of her murder, was also shot and only survived by pretending to be dead.
Yet, the Honduran prosecutor’s office has still not called Castro, the only eyewitness to the crime, in to identify Rodriguez, one of the eight main people detained. This, Castro said during a press conference in the Mexican capital, was “proof that (the Honduran prosecution) do not want me to collaborate with this process.”
Rodriguez arrived in Tegucigalpa on Sunday after being captured on Jan. 12 in a barber shop in the state of Reynosa, Mexico, where he was working, according to Honduran officials.
His capture was possible after a months-long operation involving police from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, according to authorities of the Technical Agency of Criminal Investigation of Honduras.
His initial hearing will be on Jan 19. At that time, a judge will decide whether Rodriguez is charged with pretrial detention or provisional or definitive dismissal, according to the court’s spokesperson.
Caceres gained prominence for leading the indigenous Lenca people in a struggle against the Agua Zarca Dam, a controversial development project in the community of Rio Blanco that was put in motion without consent from local communities. Caceres suffered dozens of death threats and was reportedly on the top of a U.S.-backed military hit list leading up to her assassination.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights has deemed Honduras one of the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights activists given the mounting killings and death threats they receive.