Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras
Human Rights Defender Threatened and Given Ultimatum
The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) expresses its grave concern for the continued attacks against Human Rights Defender Trinidad Sánchez Argueta, Executive Director of the Network for Alternative Community Trade (Red COMAL) based in the city of Siguatepeque in the central department of Comayagua, at 149Km from the capital city of Tegucigalpa.
On the 25th of February, 2011, at 8:13pm, José Trinidad Sánchez received a text message on his cellphone with the following text: "Trinidad WE KNOW WHERE YOU ARE YOU LIVE IN EL PORBENIR your days are limited so enjoy what you have robbed from Comal as of today count down your days you are being watched you dog."
This is not the first act against Trinidad or the members of his family. In August, 2010, his 25-year-old son Jorge Luis, who was studying in the high school "Republic of Cuba" in the department of Santa Bárbara was detained and subject to mistreatment by agents of the Preventative Police who accused him of being Cuban. After hitting his head against a wall, handcuffing him and throwing him against the sidewalk, they expelled him from the department and ordered him not to return.
In May 2010, an armed man dressed in black and carrying a number of instruments hiking/mountaineering violently entered Trinidad’s home at 2:45am, threatened and removed the family members from their beds, pointed the firearm at them intimidatingly for several minutes, then took a camera and a computer monitor and left.
On November 28, 2009 at 1:40pm, a group of 50 individuals including uniformed police officers, police in civilian clothing, and military personnel violently entered the offices of Red COMAL located in the village of 3 de septiembre in the municipality of Siguatepeque and forced the watchman to open gate to the main building. Once inside, the individuals proceeded to break open the locks on the doors of various offices, including those of the School of Solidarity Economy Training Center.
The contingent, commanded by police captain Freddy Lagos Sánchez, supposedly acting as Executing Judge of a search warrant (authorized by Public Attorney Elizabeth Orellana Rodríguez), proceeded to remove work documents and computer equipment from the offices. Months later, due to pressure from human rights organizations, the Public Attorney returned the apprehended items.
COFADEH is deeply concerned by the situation faced by TRINIDAD SANCHEZ, especially in light of the pattern of systemic attacks against human rights defenders and social activists, particularly with respect to serious incidents registered in the last few months of home invasions, criminal attacks, and illegal entry into offices of human rights organizations. In the last two months three offices have been attacked and one human rights defender has had to leave the country due to reiterated death threats and continued persecution.
COFADEH requests that the national and international community urge the Honduran State to implement the necessary measures and mechanisms to effectively guarantee and protect the life and integrity of JOSE TRINIDAD SANCHEZ. The State must equally guarantee the Right to Defend Human Rights, as stated and universally recognized by the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, ratified in 1998, and the 1999 and 2000 resolutions in the OAS on human rights defenders in the Americas.
Tegucigalpa, March 7, 2011
Please write and/or call the following authorities:
Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés
Presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia (President of the Supreme Court)
Tel (504) 269-3000 269-3069
Luis Alberto Rubí
Fiscal General de la República (Attorney General of the Republic of Honduras)
Fax (504) 221-5667
Tel (504) 221-5670 221-3099
With copies to:
Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)
Barrio La Plazuela, Avenida Cervantes, Casa No. 1301
Apartado Postal 1243
Fax:+504 220 5280 (solicite: "tono de fax")
Diplomatic representatives of your country in Honduras.