Killers of second Honduran environmentalist arrested

Authorities say brother-in-law ordered murder of Lesbia Urquía over family dispute

Lesbia Yaneth Urquía.
Lesbia Yaneth Urquía.Twitter
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Detenidos los asesinos de otra ecologista hondureña

Honduran police have arrested three men for the murder a week ago of Lesbia Urquía, an environmental activist who fought against hydroelectric and mining projects on indigenous lands in the Central American country.

Urquía was found dead with wounds to her head a week ago in the town of Marcala,100km west of the capital, Tegucigalpa.

Among the three men arrested on Wednesday was Urquía’s brother-in-law, Manuel López. He had threatened to kill Urquía, 49, over a family dispute involving property and was suspected of hiring the other two men to carry out the crime, authorities said.

But the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), where Urquía had worked since 2009, insisted that her death was linked to powerful mining companies.

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Urquía was a colleague of murdered Honduran activist Berta Caceres Caceres, another activist and indigenous leader of the COPINH, who was murdered in March.

Authorities have arrested five people for the murder of Caceres, including an employee from a company behind a hydroelectric dam project she helped block. The company said it had no connection to Caceres’ murder.

“Like the case of Berta Caceres, authorities said [Urquia’s murder] had first been because of a robbery and then attributed it to a crime of passion,” COPINH leader Lilian Martínez said.

Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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