Target: Judge Victorina Flores Orellana
Goal: Applaud the release of Gustavo Castro Soto, sole witness to the murder of Berta Caceres.
Honduran authorities have released activist Gustavo Castro Soto, allowing him to return to Mexico after he was held for over a month without charges or access to legal counsel. He was the sole witness to the murder of environmental and Indigenous rights activist Berta Caceres, who was recently murdered by unidentified gunmen. His release comes after the Honduran government was put under pressure from activists both in Honduras and across the world, including those who signed a ForceChange petition. His release increases the chances that Berta Caceres’ killers will be brought to justice and allays fears that he would be framed for her murder.
Judge Victorina Flores Orellana issued a ban on Castro Soto leaving the country, resulting in his arrest at the airport. However, at the request of the Honduran Attorney General’s Office, the travel ban was lifted, allowing Castro Soto to return home. This ended over 29 days of detention without access to legal counsel in violation of his consular rights and a treaty of mutual cooperation between Mexico and Honduras. Sign our petition to applaud the release of Gustavo Castro Soto and urge the Honduran government to continue its investigation of the assassination of Berta Caceres.
Dear Judge Flores,
I am writing to applaud you on the release of Gustavo Castro Soto and the lifting of his travel ban. As the sole witness of the murder of Berta Caceres, his incarceration damaged the credibility of the Honduran legal system and called into question the possibility that the murderers of Berta Caceres might be brought to justice. Furthermore, the imprisonment of Gustavo Castro Soto and the violation of his human and consular rights were in direct violation of the Treaty of Mutual Legal Assistance between Honduras and Mexico.
Moving forward, I hope that this is the first step in a thorough investigation into the murder of Berta Caceres, an act that resulted in the wounding of Gustavo Castro Soto. Every day that the gunmen involved in those crimes remain free harms the international reputation of Honduras. Furthermore, the continued harassment and murder of other Indigenous rights and environmental activists in Honduras is concerning and speaks to a larger conspiracy than the simple robbery claimed by local law enforcement. I hope that the Honduran legal system can show its capacity to bring all those found responsible to justice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: MOVIAC Chiapas