Lawyer and prosecutor are shot down
Civil society demands authorities to carry out an exhaustive investigation.
The assassination of a peasant rights defense lawyer and a human rights prosecutor in a matter of days caused great commotion in Honduras. Strangers pelted Antonio Trejo Cabrera, legal representative of the Authentic Vindictive Movement of Aguan, or MARCA, on Sept. 22 in Tegucigalpa. Two days later, the prosecutor Eduardo Manuel Díaz Mazariegos died in similar circumstances in the southern city of Choluteca.
After attending a wedding, Trejo Cabrera was at the entrance of a church “when he was attacked by men who shot five bullets into different parts of his body,” pointed out a press release from the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan, which qualified the act as “a hard blow” against the fight for land in the Honduran Caribbean.
“The peasant movement of Aguan condemns this vile assassination, which is now added to the list with those who have fallen from bullets during the fight to defend their people,” added the press release.
The lawyer, who advised the peasants of Aguan in their fight to regain the property of three farms that landowners reportedly acquired illegally, had received multiple death threats.
Díaz Mazariegos, human rights prosecutor of the Choluteca department, was shot 11 times only a few meters away from his office in the capital of the department. He was in charge of cases linked to organized crime.
The Assistant Attorney General Roy Urtecho demanded that the government carry out an “exhaustive investigation,” adding that attorneys do not have security to protect their lives and claimed that the state must reassign the Public Ministry the ability to carry out criminal investigations, which the National Police, an institution accused of serious corruption charges, has been conducting for some years now.
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice and Human Rights Ana Pineda called the crimes “inadmissible” and “highly condemnable”.
“This is a situation that is inadmissible in a country with rule of law such as Honduras, and we hope that similar situations will not happen again,” said Pineda.
The United Nations considers Honduras the country with the highest violence and crime rates in the world. In 2011 Honduras had a rate of 86.5 violent deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, a much higher rate than the average rate in Latin America of 20 homicides for 100,000 inhabitants.
According to the Center for Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation for Victims of Torture and their Families, 3,363 crimes were recorded in Honduras only between January and June. In the last 20 months, at least 30 lawyers have been assassinated in the country. —Latinamerica Press.