Amnesty International’s Americas Director, Erika Guevara Rosas, sent an open letter to the Attorney General of Honduras, Oscar Fernando Chinchilla, today expressing concern about the situation of Jhony Salgado Fuentes –a victim of arbitrary detention and abuse of authority by members of the Preventive Police in the context of the 2017 post-election protests – and calling for the criminal charges against him to be dismissed.
“We reviewed the available evidence and found that Jhony stands accused of crimes he didn’t commit. He is the victim of an arbitrary detention and an unfounded criminal prosecution. The Honduran authorities must not only drop the charges against him, but also identify, prosecute and punish all those responsible for violating his human rights,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.
Amnesty International documented Jhony Salgado’s case in the report Protest prohibited: Use of force and arbitrary detentions to suppress dissent in Honduras, published in 2018. The organization concluded that there were serious inconsistencies and irregularities in the evidence supporting the accusation against Jhony Salgado.
On 21 December 2017, police arbitrarily detained Jhony Salgado in his own home, where he was with his family. The Public Prosecutor’s Office opened criminal proceedings against him based on illegal evidence fabricated by those who arrested him, accusing him of carrying a firearm and misusing police clothing at a protest he did not even attend.
We reviewed the available evidence and found that Jhony stands accused of crimes he didn’t commit. He is the victim of an arbitrary detention and an unfounded criminal prosecution. The Honduran authorities must not only drop the charges against him, but also identify, prosecute and punish all those responsible for violating his human rightsErika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International's Americas Director<br>
Jhony spent over four months in pre-trial detention. He was released on 25 April 2018, pending trial, which will begin on 10 August. If convicted, Jhony Salgado would face a prison sentence.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office filed charges against four police officers allegedly responsible for the crimes of abuse of authority and entering in Johny’s house, but a judge decided there were insufficient evidence to proceed with the case and closed it. The lawyer for Jhony’s family launched an appealed the judge’s decision which is still pending.
In the letter, Amnesty International urges the Public Prosecutor’s Office to take all necessary measures to guarantee Jhony Salgado’s human rights, including:
- Guaranteeing access to justice with due diligence, which requires that the investigation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office be independent, impartial and thorough
- Guaranteeing Jhony Salgado’s rights to the presumption of innocence, due process, liberty and physical integrity
- Immediately reviewing the two criminal files in which Jhony Salgado is listed as an aggrieved and accused person, and that, on this basis, the criminal charges against him be dismissed
- Resuming the criminal investigation to identify, prosecute and punish all those responsible for his arbitrary detention and subsequent unfounded criminal prosecution
- Adequately redressing the human rights violations committed against Mr. Salgado.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Duncan Tucker: [email protected]