Special from the rel-UITA website with photos by Giorgio Trucchi.
HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 19 (rel-UITA) – After seven days of talks, the de facto government in Honduras has taken off its mask. By its rejection of the content of the key point of the San Jose Agreement -the element which foresees the reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales- it has evidenced that it has been using delaying tactics all along.
The goal of this strategy has been to run out the clock to the November elections, whose process will be strictly manipulated and controlled by the powers behind the coup, including the army. It appears to many that they hope to select new authorities after the end of President Zelaya’s term and to break the unity of the international community in not recognizing the electoral outcome.
Faced with this situation, and while President Zelaya continues waiting for today’s (October 19) final response from Roberto Micheletti’s negotiating commission, the National Front Against the Coup d’état has begun gearing up for a boycott of the elections.
Amid this difficult situation, repression by the de facto government is also continuing.
After the closing of Radio Globo and Channel 36, and the constant harassment against all media that continue speaking out against violations committed by the de facto government, over the last few days station Radio Cadena Voz (owned by former leader Ricardo Maduro) decided to drop radio programs of the Visitación Padilla Movement of Women for Peace. The broadcasts, produced by the Women Studies Center and the Center for Women’s Rights, were alleged to have made “comments and asseverations that infringe on legal principles and rights protected by the constitution, electoral law and political organizations.”
Moreover, Jairo Sanchez, president of the Vocational Training Institute Workers Union (SITRAINFOP), died on October 17 after having been shot in the face by police on September 23 while actively participating in a neighborhood demonstration in the capital. That mobilization had been organized in defiance of the curfew imposed by the de facto regime.
To date, 18 people of the resistance have been murdered by the repressive forces and hundreds of others wounded, arrested or prosecuted.
To analyze these legal aspects that frequently go ignored by the press, we spoke with Nectaly Rodezno, a coordinator of the Lawyers Front Against the Coup d’état.
How many people have you provided legal assistance to since the coup d’état took place?
There have been at least 100 people accused of sedition, aggravated assault, robbery and terrorism. Among these 100 people, we have seven who were sentenced to jail, while the others are free but subject to other preventive detention measures.
In addition, we have won the release from police stations of more than 800 people who participated in resistance activities – many of them minors, elderly, and people who were seriously injured.
What has been the position of the judges and the public prosecutor’s office in these cases?
In every one of these cases, we have seen how the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) and most of the prosecuting attorneys of the Public Ministry have come in with their minds made up before the trials begin.
All of the judges who are trying people who have participated in the resistance have violated several articles of the constitution, like the right to due process, for example. Heavy pressure is being put on them by the CSJ magistrates so that they rule that way.
Could these violations be punished in the future?
Article 5 of the International Court of Justice’s Rome Statute defines crimes over which the court has authority, and among those are offenses against humanity; more specifically, these include the persecution of a group for political reasons and the disrespect of procedures established by law. In this sense we are now preparing all of the necessary documentation to take this case before international authorities. We will not accept any amnesty and we will not rest until to see them prosecuted in an international court of law.
Have you received pressure for defending members of the resistance?
There has been a very subtle form of persecution. In my case, for example, the judges are hindering my legal work by ruling against my clients in cases not related to the resistance. Evidently, what they are looking to do is undermine me financially.
The police wanted to arrest me on several occasions, but they couldn’t accomplish that thanks to the presence of international journalists.
This is part of the risks that we assumed the moment we became involved in a movement like this.
Is the large presence of anti-resistance professionals on the Supreme Court and the prosecutor’s office due to an ideological factor or to other factors?
There are cases in which the factor is ideological; however, most of them are pursuing their personal interests, fearing being discharged or persecuted. What is of interest to them is eating and living well. They can’t even begin to think of what damage this coup d’état is doing to the people as a whole.
The coup d’état has opened up in wounds in this profession. How will these be healed?
The wounds will only be able to heal by summoning a national constitutional assembly and dissolving the Supreme Court of Justice, the Public Ministry and the Superior Appellate Court.
The Supreme Court is totally biased against the members of the resistance. In the case of the Public Ministry there are numerous violations and murders that have occurred after the coup, but not a single person has been accused of being responsible for any of those acts. There are people who have been identified in the commission of these crimes, but the Ministry has not even processed the accusations. In the case of the Superior Appellate Court, it is necessary that the people responsible for the waste and misuse of public funds be prosecuted.
The wounds will only be able to heal with deep structural changes.