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29 September 2009

Executive Decree gives green light to increased abuses in Honduras

Honduran de facto president Roberto Micheletti must rescind a decree that provides sweeping new powers of detention to the police, bans all public meetings and imposes a 45 day curfew, Amnesty International said today.

“Honduras risks spiralling into a state of lawlessness, where police and military act with no regard for human rights or the rule of law,” said Susan Lee, Americas Director at Amnesty International. “Roberto Micheletti must urgently rescind the decree and send clear instructions to the security forces to respect human rights in all circumstances and at all times.”

Attacks on opponents of the de facto government by the police and military have escalated dramatically since the publication of the Presidential decree. Radio Globo and Canal 36, a local radio station and TV channel, were forcibly and violently shut down in joint police and military operations, which disregarded legal procedures and human rights.

On Monday at around 5.20am a joint military and police operation broke down the front door of the offices of Radio Globo shooting live ammunition into the air while taking over the building.

The police and military had given no notice or provided any official reason for the operation.

The Radio Globo employees who were in the building were forced to flee, and some in their panic leapt from the windows of their third storey office. The director of Radio Globo reportedly suffered a fractured arm and other injuries as he fled the building.

The equipment and vehicles owned by Radio Globo were also confiscated. The same violent and arbitrary methods were employed by the military and police when they simultaneously took over Canal 36. The closure of two of the key media outlets which deliver an alternative view to that of the de facto government undermines the right of Honduran citizens to access information and also demonstrates the clamp down by the authorities on freedom of expression and association.

A journalist interviewed by Amnesty International said that there has been a marked increased in aggression towards human rights defenders and journalists by the de facto authorities, and with the arbitrary closure of key media outlets by the police and military the atmosphere is one of “high tension and real fear”.
Region Americas
Country Honduras
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