After one week of accompanying Honduran human rights organizations and social movements, the Quixote Center Emergency Delegation of Solidarity, Accompaniment and Witness prepared a letter outlining violations of human rights that urgently need to be addressed. Today, these concerns were presented in a meeting with the Ambassador of the United States and the Attorney General of Honduras. (En Español)
August 7, 2009
Attorney General of Honduras
Luis Alberto Rubi
As the fourth consecutive International Human Rights delegation present in the country since the coup d’état, we are writing to express our deep concern regarding the grave and rapidly deteriorating situation of human rights in Honduras, beginning with the events which occurred early in the morning of June 28th. In the name of the human rights observation groups which have visited (The Bi-Regional European Network Linking Alternatives in Latin America and the Caribbean, The Human Rights Delegation Headed by Rigoberta Menchu, The Center for Justice and International Law, and the Quixote Center/Quest for Peace), we ask that you provide us information about the following cases, and indicate what your office has been doing regarding the troubling human rights situation in Honduras.
We are arranging a continuing presence of delegations for the foreseeable future, and among their principal roles will be following up on these cases on the national level with your office, as well as on the international level. They will monitor your response to this communication, as well as new cases of human rights abuses which may occur.
- What are the investigations which you have initiated and at what stage are the cases of the kidnapping and expatriation of José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, President of the Republic, and the Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas? What have you done to investigate and hold accountable the military and the intellectual authors of these illegal actions?
- We are concerned about the multitude of reports of violations of the right to information which we have heard about. What is the state of investigation of who ordered the temporary cancellation of the program of Hedras Amado Lopez on channel 36, Edgardo Castro from channel 27 as well as the suspension of the radio program “Voices to assure we don’t forget”? Who gave the order for the suspension of Radio Global? We ask you to clarify who is behind the shooting of Radio Juticalpa and Channel 23 in Olanchito. We are also interested in what you have discovered related to the threats being received by journalists in Santa Rosa de Copan. We would encourage you to begin an investigation of these cases if you have not already done so.
- We are also concerned about the suspension of freedom of movement and other constitutionally guaranteed liberties.
- What actions will the public ministry undertake to investigate and prosecute the police and the military given their serious violation of the sovereignty and autonomy of the National University of Honduras, and physical aggression of the rector of the university on August 5th 2009? Police also threatened students, saying that “for every visa that gets revoked, one of you will die.”
- What actions will the public ministry undertake to investigate the forced disappearances of civilians, especially the case of Samuel David Flores Murillo, age 24, of San Pedro Sula?
- What actions will the public ministry undertake to investigate the deaths of, and prosecute those responsible for the deaths of the following nine people:
- Isis Obed Murillo Mencias, 19 years old
- Gabriel Fino Noriega, journalist from Radio Estelar, in the department of Atlántida, killed by 7 bullets on July 3rd, as he left his work.
- Ramón García, leader in the Democratic Union (UD), forced off of public transport when he was coming back from a protest, and riddled with bullets in the area of Santa Bárbara
- Roger Iván Bados, former unión leader of the textile sector and current member of the UD and Popular Bloque (BP), threatened with death immediately after the coup, and shot to death after being pulled from his own house on July 11 in San Pedro Sula.
- Vicky Hernández Castillo (Sonny Emelson Hernández), member of the LGTB community, dead in San Pedro Sula from a gunshot to the eye.
- Alexis Fernando Amador, dressed in a “4th Urn” T-shirt, found dead on Saturday July 3 in the “Agua Blanca” area of Tegucigalpa
- Roger Abraham Vallejo Soriano, killed on Julio 29, 2009
- Martin Florencio Rivera Barrientes
- Pedro Magdiel, killed in El Paraíso
- We’re concerned about the case of Osman Fajardo, the judge assigned to follow up with the writs of habeus corpus filed on behalf of those detained illegally in San Pedro Sula on August 3rd 2009, who was threatened and assaulted by police when he appeared at the police station. What actions will the public ministry undertake to investigate this case and to ensure the safety of all public officials, especially those working to see that the rule of law is upheld in Honduras?
- We are concerned about the case of David Murillo, who was detained after leaving the COFADEH office where he was filing a legal denunciation of the murder of his son at an anti-coup demonstration (listed above). Mr. Murillo is imprisoned in Juticalpa, which he believes is for political reasons. What actions will the public ministry undertake to investigate this case and to ensure that all citizens have access to an efficient and effective justice system?
- A teacher in San Pedro Sula showed us eight anonymous death threats received on his cell phone, including threats against his children. These threats mentioned his past and present political work. He and others believe their names to be on a “death list,” and believe that they are targets for disappearance or assassination. We understand that the staff of the Honduran Institute for Rural Development (IHDER) has also been threatened. What actions will the public ministry undertake to investigate and prosecute those making these threats, as well as to ensure the safety of those threatened for their nonviolent work?
- What actions will the public ministry undertake to investigate and prosecute the police and the military for their attack on the life of Carlos H. Reyes, especially given that he was under preventive measures under the Interamerican Human Rights Commission with its headquarters in DC?
- Have you begun investigations into the various people who have received death threats, like Xenia Sagrado Flores Hernández, who is publicly known, of the teacher Sergio Rivera, who is also publicly known, of the youth Ricardo Antonio Medida, as well as Osman Montecino, to mention just a few.
- What has the Public Ministry done with respect to the torturous treatment suffered by those detained at the 3rd Cell of the Comoyagua Regional Police headquarters and who will be held responsable for the violent eviction?
Thus, Attorney General Luis Alberto, we will be very attentive to your actions regarding the investigations which you undertake in accordance with the pertinent legal requirements should you find sufficient evidence. We are giving you an enormous opportunity for proving your capacity to do your job with objectivity and Independence.