The case file on the murder of one of Honduras’ most prominent human-rights figures was stolen last week, marking the latest setback in an investigation that has been so constantly bungled that many suspect it’s intentional.
On Sept. 29, two unidentified individuals assaulted Honduran Supreme Court of Justice Magistrate María Luisa Ramos as she was traveling with documents related to the killing of award-winning human rights activist Berta Cáceres. The suspects forced Ramos from her car and made off with the vehicle, with the case file inside.
Cáceres, who was murdered on March 3 in her home in La Esperanza, Honduras, gained international prominence for her campaign against a major dam project that would have damaged a river sacred to the Lenca indigenous community to which she belonged. In 2015, Cáceres was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for her work opposing the dam project.
Six suspects have been arrested in connection with Cáceres’ murder, but authorities have yet to identify the intellectual authors of the assassination.
The recently stolen case file included evidence supporting accusations against several suspects in the murder of Cáceres, as well as other documents related to the investigation. International organizations have expressed dismay over the theft of the case file, adding to mounting criticism of the Honduran government’s handling of the case.