The following was translated from an original statement in Spanish by COFADEH. An article in Spanish on COFADEH’s human rights journalism website can be found here.
The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), with great concern, would like to inform the international community, and the Honduran population in particular, that the practice of forced disappearance is once again being systematically implemented in Honduras, as demonstrated by the following cases.
1. Osmin Obando Cáceres (age 22), son of Eliodoro Cáceres, Coordinator of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) in Tela, department of Atlántida, has been disappeared since Sunday, June 13, 2010 at 4:30 PM when he was driving his taxi and told his family that he couldn’t speak to them by phone because he was surrounded by police.
The taxi appeared abandoned that same day around 6:30PM in the community of Los Cedros, in the jurisdiction of Tela.
After his disappearance, the family received false calls, one caller claiming that Osmin was in the hospital in Tela and another that claimed that he was dead in the community of Las Palmas. Relatives went to verify each of the calls and neither was true.
2. Denis Alexander Russel (age 19) was captured in an operation of the Special Anti-Kidnapping Taskforce (GEAS) on July 13, 2010. The operation was commanded by Vice Minister of Security Armando Calidonio and police spokesperson Juan Rochez.
His mother, Carlota Anariva, denounced that the day he was taken away he had been with her buying groceries, and when they returned to the house she left him to park the car and suddenly the neighbours came to tell her that her son had been taken away. He was a student in the Instituto de la Patria in La Lima, Department of Cortés.
3. Luís Alexander Torres Casaleno, detained on July 20, 2010 by police agents while driving his motorcycle, after having passed a police checkpoint on the Corocito highway towards Tocoa, Colón. A few kilometers passed the checkpoint he was detained by four agents of the Preventative Police who were riding in a white unmarked double-cab pick-up truck and crossed in front of him on the highway. Two agents in uniform got out of the truck and put him into the vehicle, leaving his motorcycle behind. The motorcycle was retrieved by the Corocito police shortly afterwards. A habeas corpus was filed in his name and there has been no response to date.
4. Vilmar Edmundo Talavera Avilez, a police officer, was detained by the Border Police (Policía de Frontera y Análisis) on July 15, 2010 when he was riding a bus. He was detained after presenting his identification documents. Before his disappearance he was reportedly threatened by a police officer by the name of Tercero.
5. Samuel Josué Pastrana Molina was kidnapped on February 7, 2011 at 2:30 when armed men with ski masks entered the place he was in the department of El Paraíso, ordered those who were with him to place themselves on the ground and close there eyes, and they took him away.
6. Francisco Pascual López of the Rigores agricultural cooperative in Tocoa, Colón, is disappeared since May 15, 2011.
7. Kelvin Omar Andrade Hernández (age 18), son of political exile Dagoberto Andrade, mysteriously disappeared on June 11, 2011 when he went out to ride his motorcycle in the neighbourhood of Bella Vista in Catacamas, department of Olancho. He has not appeared since.
8. Mauricio Joel Urbino Castro (34), who worked as a taxi driver of taxi number 248 in the city of Ceiba in the department of Atlántida. He was having a problem with the electrical system of the car on August 2, 2011 and at approximately 4:30PM he arrived at a garage that specialized in electrical repairs in the San José neighbourhood of Ceiba to repair the vehicle. At about the same time four men whose faces were covered with ski masks, of large and muscular build, who were carrying long and short barrelled weapons, identified themselves as police and immediately ordered all present inside the garage to get on the ground, shouting “we’re the police – hit the floor!” while they kicked the garage owner.
They then proceeded to beat Mauricio Joel Urbina Castro, fastened his hands behind him, and violently removed him from the garage, forcing him into a grey double-cab pick-up truck with heavily tinted windows and without liscence plate which was waiting in the street. He has not been seen since and his cellphone has never been answered since.
9. Oscar Elías López Muñoz (49) was kidnapped by masked men around 5:00 AM on Sunday August 21st in the Suyapa neighbourhood of Chamelecón in the North of Honduras. The men arrived in three cars and broke down the doors of his home, where López Muños was with his wife and ten year-old daughter. They said they were agents of the National Department of Criminal Investigation (DNIC). They were wearing hoods and ski masks.
10. José Reynaldo Cruz Palma, president of the Community Council (Patronato) of Planeta Neighbourhood in San Pedro Sula. According to his family members he was kidnapped on August 30, 2011 by agents of the DNIC and Preventative Police when he was travelling by public transport along with his wife Nubia Carvajal between La Lima, Cortés and their home in the neighbourhood of Planeta.
The bus he was riding in was intercepted by various agents of both police forces who were driving in two vehicles, one was a grey Mazda double-cab pick-up truck with the partial licence plate BP50 and the other was a patrol vehicle of the Preventative Police. The uniformed agents got on the bus, said to his wife that the problem was not with her but with her partner, and took him by force.
In light of these facts COFADEH has filed the corresponding denunciations but to date the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, and state investigative bodies have maintained a conspiratorial silence and have not taken any action in any of these cases.
COFADEH is accompanying these new families who are regrettably suffering this torturous journey and hold the State of Honduras responsible for the re-implementation of this despicable practice, which is a crime against humanity and was carried out in the 1980s against our relatives, who we are still looking for. The people responsible for these crimes continue to benefit from impunity and many are still part of the failed institutions of this country.
WE SHALL NOT FORGIVE OR FORGET
THE CRIMES OR THE PURPETRATORS
Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, September 1st, 2011