image-title

1. Contact Honduran Authorities

2. Contact US and Canadian Representatives

Long-time Honduran activist Edwin Espinal was arrested by US-trained police forces
on January 19, 2018, on trumped up charges related to protests against the
presidential election fraud on November 26, 2017. Since the elections, at least 35
demonstrators and bystanders have been killed during anti-fraud protests, the
majority carried out by state security forces which routinely fired live bullets at
protesters. In the same context, according to data from Honduran human rights
organizations, at least 393 people were injured and 76 people tortured. The Public
Prosecutor’s Office, which has two embedded US advisors, has yet to prosecute any
of the murders by state forces, but instead, has arrested and pressed charges
against dozens of pro-democracy demonstrators.

We encourage you to join the Global Day of Action today, March 19,
2018, to demand the immediate freedom of Edwin Espinal and all political prisoners in                                                                                                        Honduras.

Edwin Espinal and other 25 political prisoners have been targeted for their role in the
opposition to the elections and involvement in anti-fraud protests. They face
fabricated charges including accusations of terrorism, arson and criminal
association. Some cases are being reviewed by judges embedded in military-led
task forces and many arrests were carried out by US-trained, vetted, and financed
security forces like the special forces TIGRES unit. The majority of the 26 Honduran
political prisoners are being held in newly built US-modeled, military-run, maximum
security prisons and their cases have been plagued by the refusal of Honduran state
prosecutors to share information with their attorneys. Judges ordered pretrial
detention for all 26 political prisoners who could remain in prison for years while
awaiting trial. The political prisoners are being held in jails across the country – in the
northern cities of Tela and El Progreso, in the “La Tolva” prison in Morecelí, El
Paraiso, and the “El Pozo” jail in Ilama, Santa Barbara.

US-trained security forces and officials have not only carried out the arbitrary
detentions of political opposition and social movement leaders, but in some cases
run the prisons. Human rights defenders, journalists, and even the attorneys and
families of the accused have been denied access making it extremely difficult, if not
impossible, to verify their conditions. We know that some political prisoners have
been held for long periods in solitary confinement and denied their essential rights
under the law. This is deeply regrettable but not surprising in a political environment
where corruption and impunity are rampant.

Edwin Espinal has been subject to state harassment, violence, and threats since the
2009 US-backed coup, which has led him to receive precautionary measures by the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. On March 3rd, Edwin Espinal began
a hunger strike to demand that he, political prisoner Raúl Eduardo Álvarez, and other
inmates be taken to see a physician. There is some sort of flu-like virus circulating
inside the jail module where approximately 200 prisoners are being held. Edwin and
other prisoners have been refused medical attention for several days. In another
maximum security prison where 15 political prisoners are being held, a tuberculosis
outbreak was recently reported, suspecting at least 30 cases and 5 deaths. The
prevalence of these illness can be linked to the poor conditions inside the prison
including severe water shortages and less than adequate amounts of food provided
to prisoners

Sharon Hunter-Smith

Sharon Hunter-Smith has blogged 230 posts