Demonstrators hold signs with Berta Cáceres' face outside a court.

Demonstrators hold signs outside a court during the trial of the men charged with the murder of Indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Nov. 29, 2018. 

Credit:

Jorge Cabrera/Reuters

A Honduran court convicted seven people on Thursday for the 2016 murder of Indigenous land rights campaigner Berta Cáceres, who led opposition to the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the ancestral lands of her Lenca tribe.

The seven men face up to 30 years in jail, while four of them could spend even longer behind bars as they were also convicted of attempting to kill Mexican activist Gustavo Castro, who was with Cáceres during the attack.

Castro was wounded but survived by playing dead until the gunmen left.

Cáceres was shot and killed at her home on March 2, 2016, after receiving death threats over her challenges to the $50 million Agua Zarca dam that threatened to displace hundreds of Indigenous Lenca.

Related: Assassins murdered Honduran activist Berta Cáceres. Her mother and daughters have taken up the fight.

Cáceres won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 for leading opposition to the dam.

Among those convicted on Thursday was an employee of the DESA construction company behind the project, an active duty military officer plus a retired officer who was a DESA employee.

Sentencing is scheduled to take place in January.

Two detainees dressed in white shirts and black pants arrive to court for their trial.

The detainees charged with the murder of Indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres arrive to court for their trial, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Nov. 29, 2018.

Credit:

Jorge Cabrera/Reuters

One defendant was exonerated, said court spokesman Melvin Duarte.

Local and international humanitarian organizations nonetheless criticized the convictions as inadequate as they did not touch other company executives.

"Justice here was not complete because the DESA business owners have not been investigated or prosecuted, although they are the masterminds of the crime," said Olivia Zuniga, a daughter of Cáceres.

Related: In the world's most dangerous nation for environmentalists, a leader is murdered

DESA has rejected accusations that it was responsible for Cáceres' murder.

DESA executive Roberto David Castillo has been accused by legal officials in Honduras of helping to direct the crime and is being tried separately.

 

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