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News > Honduras

Honduras: Killers of Environmental Activist Sentenced to Prison

  • Indigenous environmental leader Felix Vasquez, Honduras.

    Indigenous environmental leader Felix Vasquez, Honduras. | Photo: Twitter/ @MP_Honduras

Published 10 February 2023

Dressed as soldiers and carrying weapons, four hitmen murdered Feliz Vasquez at his home in the El Ocotal village on December 2020. 

On Thursday, Honduras' Comayagua Court sentenced citizens Josue Martinez, Siriaco Mejia, Francisco Lopez, and Mario Lopez to 21 years in prison for the murder of 60-year-old Indigenous environmental leader Felix Vasquez.


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Dressed as soldiers and carrying weapons, they forcibly entered Vasquez’s home in the El Ocotal village in the Santiago de Puringla municipality on December 2020. 

"After realizing what happened, Vasquez held a struggle in the living room of the house with Martinez, to whom he managed to remove the mountain pass that covered his face. Martinez then shot him in the face with a 9-millimeter pistol, killing him instantly," the Public Prosecutor’s Office said.

The four men also immobilized three visitors to Vasquez’s home and stole their mobile phones and cash. “Forensic Medicine’s proof was crucial in individualizing responsibility against the crime perpetrators,” the Public Prosecutor’s Office said.

Vasquez, who also was La Paz Farmworkers Union secretary, had reported death threats against him. According to the Global Witness NGO, Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries for environmental activists.

In 2016, Indigenous leader Berta Caceres, who fought against the Energy Development (DESA) company project to install a hydroelectric dam on the Lenca community’s Gualcarque River, was shot dead in La Esperanza city despite counting with precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

In 2018, Honduran justice sentenced seven people to up to 50 years as perpetrators of this murder. In 2022, a Honduran court also condemned DESA company director Roberto Castillo to serve 22 years and six months in prison for co-authoring this crime.

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