Honduras Does Not Respect Political Rights, Freedom of Association and the Right to Protest

Honduras Solidarity Network

The Convergence Against Continuism and the Committee for the Liberation of the Honduran Political Prisoners denounce the situation of 178 people who have been prosecuted and deprived of their freedom due to their ideas or opinions, individual leadership, or for having demonstrated against the regime of Juan Orlando Hernández.

There are currently eight people in custody in La Tolva and one person detained at the Penal Facility in  El Progreso.

Rommel Valdemar Herrera Portillo and Gustavo Cáceres are in prison because there is no rule of law. The Honduran Judiciary is not independent of the Executive and Legislative powers as mandated by the Basic Principles of the United Nations and the Honduran Constitution in its Article 303. In his most recent report, the Rapporteur for Judicial Independence of the United Nations questioned the Honduran National Security and Defense Council, which, under the President, brings together  the Presidents of the Congress and of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Security and the Secretary of National Defense. The Council is responsible for designing “(…) strategies to prevent, combat, investigation and punish criminal behaviors” (art. 3) and leads an Intelligence Directorate in charge of “(…) executing public policies established by the Council in matters of Defense and Security.”

It is precisely this structure that has designed the policies criminalizing social protest and political rights that have kept people detained or subjected to judicial procedures for over 20 months. This lack of judicial independence has denied Gustavo Cáceres his right to have an impartial judge and a trial that guarantees due process.

The presiding Judge has received truthful, objective and scientific information about Gustavo’s disability. Such information reveals that he suffers from organic deterioration at a cerebral level, deterioration at a moderate cognitive level, moderate mental retardation, emotionally anxious and depressive language disorder. Despite the fact that he is 26 years old, his maturity age corresponds to a person between 6 to 9 years old. Gustavo requires psychotherapeutic attention in a specialized care center. However, such treatment has been denied by the prison and judicial authorities. The Public Ministry has failed in its duty of Objectivity.

People who defend themselves in freedom are victims of harassment, surveillance, political reprisals and denial of the right to work because they have been stigmatized and denigrated by the media as alleged criminals. Among the political and prosecuted prisoners are students, housewives, professors, businessmen, workers, indigenous people, trade unionists, intellectuals, social activists, environmentalists and human rights defenders.

Taking into consideration the criteria used for the criminalization of all political prisoners, we demand their immediate and unconditional release, and that the Honduran authorities drop the charges.

The State of Honduras must adopt, in accordance with international law and national legislation, the political and legal measures deemed appropriate to contribute to the prompt restoration of the violated rights of the political prisoners, including the return of their seized assets. At the same time we condemn the criminalization and incarceration of the Guapinol defenders in a maximum security prison.

For Political Prisoners, Freedom Now!

WE DEMAND FREEDOM FOR ROMMEL HERRERA, GUSTAVO CÁCERES AND THE 7 GUAPINOL LIFE DEFENDERS!

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