We have just learned that Mr. Gustavo Castro Soto from Otros Mundos/Friend of the Earth Mexico, who is the sole witness to the assassination of COPINH leader Berta Caceres has been taken into custody by the Honduran Government. In that he is the sole witness to Ms. Caceres’ murder and was himself shot during the attack, we fear for his life and safety.
On Sunday, March 6, upon trying to leave Honduras, legally and under the protection of the Mexican Embassy in Honduras, he was arbitrarily intercepted by Honduran authorities before passing through immigration at the Tegucigalpa International Airport. They detained him under the justification that he needed to expand upon his declaration, but without notifying him of this previously.
We want to point out that Gustavo Castro in no way resisted making the full declaration that was asked of him, and he has accepted this request to expand his statement in the interest of clarifying the facts surrounding the assassination of Berta Cáceres, and to avoid the criminalization of members of COPINH.
Despite all of the requests made to ensure that this new declaration be made under proper conditions, to guarantee his physical safety and psychological well-being within the Mexican Embassy in Tegucigalpa, the General Prosecutor decided that Gustavo needed to make his statement in La Esperanza. We believe that this puts him in physical and psychological danger. We demand guarantee for Gustavo’s safety and security during the process of expanding his declaration and during his travel from the Embassy of Mexico in Tegucigalpa. We demand that the government of Honduras fulfill its promise to lift the immigration hold that prevented Gustavo Castro from immediately leaving Honduras after completing his required statement, since there is no reason to keep him in the country.
We appeal to you to ensure that Mr. Gustavo’s life and liberty are protected, and he can return to Mexico immediately to get the medical attention and security he needs.
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