Press Release number 16
La Esperanza, Intibucá, August 2, 2022
During yesterday’s hearing, the lawyer, Ritza Antunez, irresponsibly accused our organization of threats against her life and of a physical attack against her daughter. Likewise, her colleague, Juan Sánchez Cantillano, continued to stigmatize the work of COPINH.
These lawyers have used the use of false information and slander against our organization as a tactic to silence COPINH and to keep the development of the trial out of the public eye. This is a double victimization for those of us who seek justice in the case of Berta Cáceres and defend the rights of the Lenca people.
To link our organization with criminal acts that have not been sufficiently clarified by the authorities puts at risk our organization and its members, who have a clear peaceful vocation and in the past have been victims of intimidation and violence.
COPINH reiterates that our purpose as established by the court is that the trial has the widest publicity and public scrutiny to ensure justice. The visibility of the case cannot be an excuse for secrecy and opacity.
We demand that the authorities clarify these facts and, on the other hand, that lawyer Antunez and lawyer Sánchez Cantillano retract these accusations or provide the evidence that leads them to make such serious accusations.
The vile accusations seek to undermine our position as victims and delay the necessary justice for which we fight on behalf of the Lenca People and in defense of the memory of Berta Cacéres. The demand for justice will never be a tool of violence nor an excuse that puts the life of any person at risk: it is a legitimate demand of all peoples. COPINH will not cease its struggle for life, dignity and justice.
“With the ancestral strength of Berta, Lempira, Mota, Iselaca and Etempica rise our voices full of life, justice, freedom, dignity and peace “