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Protecting The Environmentalists

Posted on May, 2, 2016
Contributed to WCHV by WCHV

sandovalIn 2013, Jairo Mora Sandoval a 26-year-old Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist, who patrolled beaches near Limon, was murdered. To many conservationists and international organizations protecting the environment, it has seemed that there is no end to the violence against environmentalists and community-rights campaigners as Berta Cáceres (read our story in March of this year), a much-lauded Honduran indigenous activist, was also murdered.
But at least once in awhile, there’s a hint of justice as New York Times reported. Brave testimony helped to convict killers of Sandoval after three years. Four men were convicted of the murder and related attacks on four female volunteers who worked with the young man. Three other men were acquitted on all charges. A previous trial had ended in acquittals all around, largely because of missteps by investigators and prosecutors, but an appeals court sent the case back for retrial.
The major factor that helped to convict the killers was the gripping testimony provided last month by Skype of Almudena Amador, a Spanish veterinarian who was one of the attackers’ victims according to the reports. In fact, it was significant that the court found that the killing was no random incident, but clearly linked to the illicit trade of turtle eggs. The court’s panel of three judges highlighted Mora’s work with sea turtles as the primary motivation for his murder.
As more and more conservationists put their lives in danger in order to safe-guard the natural resources and heritage sites, it is important for local and national governments and authorities to create more restrict laws, regulations, measures, and punishments for crimes that focus on protecting these environmentalists and their organizations. The recent victory is a small one for conservationists and environmentalists but hopefully the first of many more for those who preserve and conserve our planet’s natural heritage.

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