Monday, January 30, 2012

URGENT ACTION: Journalist in danger – Repeated Threats and Persecution (COFADEH)

The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (Cofadeh) expresses its concern for the security of Gilda Carolina Silvestrucchi, independent journalist for 16 years and Director of the radio program “In the Plaza” who is the victim of serious threats against her life and against the lives of her children.
On January 3, 2012 while on her way to work at the radio program she was followed by a red Honda Civic for several minutes, until the driver of the vehicle transporting her was able to lose the car that was following them.

On January 20, 2012, her mother received a phone call from a male voice requesting information regarding the routine of Gilda Carolina  Silvestrucchi including what time she arrived home, where she was during the day and where he could find her. The unknown caller questioned the mother under the pretense of knowing the exact time when she could be found at home.

Today, January 23, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. she received approximately five calls on her cell phone from the number 94 83 42 03. The first question from the unknown caller was if she was the owner of the cell phone. The movment of vehicles could be heard on the line and the caller than said “We know that you have three children, that the oldest is 15 years old, that you are on the street with your 7 year old child, and that the oldest is in your home caring for the one year old. We are going to kill you.”

When the call ended, Gilda called her younger daughter who informed her that an unknown person had called asking for Gilda stating that he had to deliver some papers to her. The subject then called Gilda’s daughter two more times.
On that day, Gilda Silvestrucchi had hosted Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos and Pedro Landa on her program as guests to speak about problems related to mining in the Siria Valley and the maneuvers of members of Congress to approve the new Mining Law. 

The right to freedom of expression and the right of society to be informed, enshrined in the Constitution and international human rights law, are currently being violated through, intimidation and threats from public authorities and illegitimate powers. Crimes against journalists and violence against the freedom of expression throughout Honduras have reached intolerable levels, never before seen in the history of Honduras. Since 2009, 18 journalists have been murdered, 25 have received death threats, 14 have suffered illegal detentions, 4 have been kidnapped and tortured, and 37 other attacks and aggressions against journalists have been recorded.

On December 14, 2011 journalists held a protest which was repressed by the military assigned to the Presidential palace. The protest was convened by the collective, “Journalists for Life and the Freedom of Expression” of which Gilda is an active member.

In Honduras, there are structures and threats which restrict freedom of expression in large areas of the country including political censure and organized crime, resulting in self-censorship as way to protect the safety of journalists given the lack of State action to impose exemplary sanctions for crimes against journalists and guarantees of freedom of expression.

Cofadeh requests the National and International Community:
    •    Publicly condemn the intimidation of journalists and demand that the state of Honduras commit to the protection of members of this profession;
    •    Request immediate action to provide all protection necessary for Gilda Carolina Silvestrucci and her family, particularly her young children in the manner that she requests;
    •    Request an urgent, exhaustive and impartial investigation into the acts that place the life of Gilda Silvestrucchi at risk and that the murders of 18 journalists be investigated as well as threats against other journalists. The results of these investigations should be made public and those responsible should be tried.
    •    Demand that protective orders issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for JOURNALISTS AT RISK be applied.

Please send calls, expression of concern and demands to:

Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés
President of the Supreme Court
Tel (504) 2269-3000  2269-3069

Luis Alberto Rubí
Attorney General
Fax (504) 2221-5667
Tel (504) 2221-5670  2221-3099

With copies to:
Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)
Barrio La Plazuela , Avenida Cervantes, Casa No. 1301
Apartado Postal 1243
Tegucigalpa, HONDURAS
Fax:+504 2220 1528 (call and ask for “tono de fax, por favor”)

Also send copies to the diplomatic representation for Honduras accredited in your country.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Communique and Action in Support of Campesino Activist Prisoner: Chavelo Morales

La Voz de los de Abajo has signed on to the action in support of compañero Chavelo - for interviews and more information about Chavelo see our past blog posts. At the end of the following communique from Honduras are the addresses and phone numbers where you can take action.
To the Appeals Court in La Ceiba
To the Honduran Government
To the Honduran People and to International Solidarity
The people and organizations that support this communique believe in the necessity for the impartiality of justice and its fulfillment for all human society and for Honduran society in particular. We consider that it is part of our struggle to denounce situations of human rights violations and aggression against the liberty of people and of national organizations. For this reason we are speaking on the case of our compañero José Isabel Morales López of the Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA), a prisoner for more than three years in the prison of El Porvenir in La Ceiba.
In 2008 as a result of the struggle for land in the zone of Aguan compañero Morales Löpez was detained and accused of ten assassinations, attempted murder, a homicide, aggravated robbery and aggravated arson. Finally he was condemned for a homicide, but to date and despite the fact that the final verdict was given on June 25, 2010, his sentencing has still not occurred. During the court proceeding irregularities were apparent among others the fact that the witnesses against him had contradictions in their stories and changed their testimony from previous versions.
On the other hand the illegality of preventative imprisonment is evident, according to the regulations established by the Penal Process Code, it can only last, at a maximum, for two years;if no sentence has been given in that period of time, imprisonment must be replaced by other measures (medidas cautelares) And, as we have reiterated, the fact that as of this moment no sentence has been given is shameful and alarming.
Based on these circumstances the defense lawyers of compañero Morales López have on three occasions solicited the substituion of preventative imprisonment from the sentencing Tribunal and on three occasions it has been denied. They also filed a habeas corpus to the Constitutional Court (Sala de lo Constitucional) for it to declare the illegality of deprivation of liberty, given that the limits established by the law have already been exceeded. This (habeas corpus) was declared to be without standing seven months after the filing.
During his incarceration he was denied permission to attend the funerals of his daughter and his father, who died at different times. His health during his imprisonment has been damaged by an accident that caused the loss of an eye, and his state of emotional health is gravely affected by the series of events and conditions described above.
Due to all of this and more, we are completely in solidarity with José Isabel Morales López, compañero Chavelo, a fighter for the land for the rights of the Honduran campesinos.
We denounce the Court of Appeals in which the appeals are held, the same appeals that have not been resolved due to one of the appeals having been presented during the trial and it is precisely its lack of resolution that has impeded the sentencing.
We hold the judicial apparatus of the country responsibly for the violations of human rights and the denial of access to justice for José Isabel Morales López.
We demand immediate freedom for José Isabel Morales López
If your organization wants to sign on to this communique contact: Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras, COPINH
Calls and Messages calling for Chavelo’s immediate release should go to:
Abogado(Lawyer) Celino Aristides Aguilera Amador
(President of the Appeals Court in La Ceiba)
Presidente de la Corte de Apelaciones de La Ceiba Sala #1
Telefono (00504) 2441-4172 ext. 1064
Marlene Suyapa Perez Valle , (Judge) Magistrada Propietaria
Ext. 1054
Carlos Eduardo Castelar
(Judge) Magistrado Propietario Ext. 1061
Dianey Cruz Recarte
(Judge) Magistrado Integrante Ext. 1053
Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés, Presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia
Telefono: (504) 2269-3000 2269-3069 Mail:
Sr. Porfirio Lobo Sosa, Presidente de la República (President of the Republic of Honduras)
Casa Presidencial,
Boulevard Juan Pablo Segundo, Palacio José Cecilio del Valle
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Fax: + 504 2239 3298
Luis Alberto Rubí
(Attorney General) Fiscal General de la República.
Fax (504) 2221-5667
Tel (504) 2221-5670 2221-3099
Sra. Ana Pineda
(Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Human Rights)
Secretaría de Justicia y Derechos Humanos
Col. Lomas del Mayab, Ave. República de Costa Rica
Fax: +504 22358379
Please send copies to:
Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras, COPINH

Friday, January 6, 2012


Honduran State Is Failing to Guarantee the Security of its Citizens

Police Attack on Father Marco Lorenzo

The Committee for Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (Cofadeh) wishes to express its total condemnation and deep concern regarding the police of the State of Honduras and their systematic practice of attacking its citizens.

On 26 December Marco Aurelio Lorenzo, the Catholic parish priest for Macuelizo, Santa Bárbara, was travelling in a car with two of his brothers, at about 8.15 at night along the turn-off leading to El Rosario farm, at kilometre 24 on the road linking San Miguelito with Yamaranguila in the department of Intibucá.

At that point he decided to rest at the side of the road, after having driven several kilometres from the Department of Santa Bárbara into Intibucá. The priest had been conducted a range of religious services (masses, christenings, weddings) non-stop since 19 December, and as a result was exhausted.

As the ground was uneven, one of the passengers got out of the car to put a rock under the wheel to prevent the car from sliding. While he was doing this a police patrol car turned up carrying eight officers, who without a word and without demanding his documents, began hitting him.

Seeing the attack, Father Lorenzo got out of the car to find out what was happening, and suffered the same fate. The priest was handcuffed and he was severely beaten. He was thrown to the ground and one of the policeman stood on his body while the other kicked him with his regulation boots.

They then stripped the priest and his travelling companions of their personal belongings, food which they had taken to share with their family and money, and forced them to get back into the car, removed the rock, and pushed the car down a slope. The car came to rest in a ditch.

The police then removed the car and handcuffed the victims to the bars of the patrol vehicle. They took the injured to hospital in La Esperanza, in Intibucá, and left the car and the documents at the police station. There the priest’s sister was given his wallet with the documents and his mobile phone, with the SIM card and battery missing. As a result of his injuries, the priest lost consciousness and needed 16 stitches in his head.


Father Marco Aurelio Lorenzo is a staunch defender of natural resources, as a result of which he has been the victim of attacks and illegal detention.

For example, on 17 July 2007, he was arrested together with Reginaldo García, another priest, on the orders of Silvio Edmundo Inestroza, an officer with the Policía Preventiva (Preventive Police), during a peaceful protest against open-cast mining. While the demonstration was being dispersed, in Seis de Mayo district, the police insulted and hit Father Marco Aurelio Lorenzo with their batons and pushed him onto the pavement. The priest was detained for over six hours in a police station in the area.

On the night of 13 August 2004, Father Lorenzo was returning from the community of San Antonio Chiquila when he was intercepted by a Toyota car without number plates. Three armed hooded men made him get out of his car and severely beat him on his back, abdomen, chest, legs and hip, causing internal injuries, as a result of which the priest had to be hospitalised.

COFADEH asks the national and international community to demand that the State of Honduras adopts the necessary measures and effective mechanisms to guarantee the life, physical integrity and access to justice for Father Marco Aurelio Lorenzo and his two brothers, and to suspend any reprisals against them.

Please direct letters, calls and faxes to Honduran justice officials:

Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés

President of the Supreme Court

Tel (504) 269-3000 269-3069


Luis Alberto Rubí

Director of Public Prosecutions

Fax (504) 221-5667

Tel (504) 221-5670 221-3099


With a copy to:

Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)

Barrio La Plazuela, Avenida Cervantes, Casa No. 1301

Apartado Postal 1243

Tegucigalpa, HONDURAS

Fax:+504 220 5280 (request: "tono de fax")



Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras, COFADEH

Tegucigalpa M.D.C. 04 de enero de 2012

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