Demand Investigation into Murder of Human Rights Lawyer

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Target: Honduran President Porfirio Lobo

Goal: Investigate the murder of pro-peasant attorney

In a recent tragic incident, human rights lawyer, Antonio Trejo Cabrera, was shot five times after leaving a church wedding just south of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Those wounds would later kill him at a nearby hospital. While perhaps not an uncommon tragedy in the country that holds the world’s highest murder rate, Trejo’s murder hardly seems coincidental; Antonio Trejo Cabrera was an outspoken human rights lawyer who not only advocated on behalf of peasant land rights, but had also attacked government plans to build private cities.

Such an overt attack against a proponent of human rights and government accountability must not go unpunished, and it falls on Honduran President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo’s administration to bring the killers to justice.

In May of 2011, peasant associations began occupying disputed land in the Bajo Aguán Valley, a region being cultivated by private agricultural companies to produce palm oil, a key ingredient in biofuels.  Over 80 people have been murdered as a result of the ongoing territorial conflict. Often, peasants are gunned down by supposed security guards employed by these private companies.

Antonio Trejo served as the lead lawyer for MARCA, one of the peasant groups involved, as well as participated in at least one protest in favor of peasant land rights outside Honduras’s Supreme Court. In addition to fighting for peasants’ rights, Trejo also opposed the creation of “special development regions” in Honduras, cities that would be privately run and regulated to promote trade and investment.

These proposed cities would have laws, taxes, a police force, and a justice system outside of Honduran rule. Trejo, with other lawyers, spoke out against the project, accusing politicians of devising the plan simply to raise campaign funds. Trejo had voiced such opinions at a televised debate mere hours before his death.

It is clear that Antonio Trejo Cabrera was a well-known human rights lawyer and proponent within Honduras, fighting against big money companies and government projects alike. His murder, in light of his work and the many death threats he reported, hardly seems accidental. If individuals like Trejo are allowed to be assassinated without hardline repercussions, the very freedom to fight for human rights in Honduras is at stake. Demand that President Lobo’s administration take immediate action.    

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Porfirio Lobo,

On September 22, 2012, Antonio Trejo, an outspoken human rights lawyer was gunned down outside a church near Tegucigalpa. Given Trejo’s work and the many threats against his life, it hardly seems that this incident was accidental. If individuals like Trejo are allowed to be assassinated without hardline repercussions, the very freedom to fight for human rights in Honduras is at stake.

I ask that your administration investigate this murder in a fair and unbiased fashion, and take immediate action to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit:  Mickaël T via Flickr

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  • Eric von Borstel
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