TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduran authorities on Monday ordered the exhumation of the physique of a land defender who died underneath unclear circumstances close to the nation’s Caribbean coast.
Members of an ethnic group of combined African and Indigenous heritage contend the demise of Ricardo Arnaúl Montero was a murder associated to a long-running land dispute.
Police had preliminarily thought-about the demise Saturday a drowning, however his physique was buried earlier than an investigation was carried out.
The Black Fraternal Group of Honduras, which works with Garifuna communities, stated Montero had been receiving demise threats since November.
“He exhibits up lifeless as if he drowned and there was no post-mortem,” stated Miriam Miranda, coordinator basic of the group, referred to as Ofraneh. “We don’t imagine that. He was murdered.”
Neither police nor Miranda supplied any particulars in regards to the circumstances of Montero’s demise in the neighborhood of Triunfo de la Cruz within the municipality of Tela.
If Montero was slain, he can be at the very least the third land defender killed in northern Honduras already this yr.
Earlier this month, Aly Domínguez and Jairo Bonilla had been driving a motorbike between La Concepción and Guapinol once they had been shot. Each males had been identified defenders of the close by Carlos Escaleras Nationwide Park.
Miranda stated Montero lived alongside close to the Gama river and was lively in defending lands the place outsiders have pushed into areas historically populated by Garifuna. For years, Garifuna within the space have denounced such incursions, harassment and the disappearances of different activists, she stated.
In 2015, the Inter-American Courtroom of Human Rights determined in favor of the Garifuna of Triunfo de la Cruz and towards the Honduran authorities for violating their collective property rights.
“Because the sentence was issued, the battle escalated, and it’ll proceed,” Miranda stated.
Alice Shackelford, the United Nations consultant in Honduras, known as for an finish to the killings in a tweet Sunday decrying “unceasing violence towards (human rights) defenders in Honduras.”
Nonetheless, Tulio Enrique Martínez, president of a neighborhood affiliation in Triunfo de la Cruz referred to as a patronato, stated Montero’s demise had been distorted and there was no crime dedicated.
“They need to one way or the other denigrate our municipality in a technique to deter tourism,” Martínez stated.
Cristian Nolasco, spokesman for the Investigative Police, stated authorities would perform an post-mortem after Montero’s physique was exhumed to find out the reason for demise.