Honduras commission seeks justice in coup

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Associated Press

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 3 at 11:04 PM

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — A truth commission formed by human rights organizations called on President Porfirio Lobo's government on Wednesday to annul a 2010 amnesty law and fire Honduran officials responsible for the coup that overthrew his predecessor, Manuel Zelaya.

The report issued by the non-governmental commission also calls on Lobo's administration to pay unspecified reparations to Zelaya supporters who were victims of the 2009 coup. The commission was formed by local rights groups with the support of international organizations.

The report says military and civilian officials involved in the coup should lose their jobs, and that people who fled Honduras because they were persecuted during that period should be allowed to return home.

The report alleges that rights violations have continued since the coup, including the formation of groups resembling death squads.

There was no immediate response to the report from Lobo's government.

Commission president Elsie Monge said the main goal of the report "is to give voice to the victims and to halt the human rights violations that continue after the coup."

Commission members include Nora Cortinas, a co-founder of Argentina's Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, former Salvadoran Supreme Court Justice Mirna Perla, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina, and Honduran writer Helen Umana.

Honduras' army flew Zelaya out of the country in June 2009 after Zelaya pushed ahead with plans for a referendum on changing the constitution even though the Supreme Court ruled the vote illegal. The move was widely condemned by other nations.

The Honduran Congress in January 2010 passed an amnesty covering certain acts leading up to the coup.

Zelaya returned from exile in May 2011 under a deal brokered by Colombia and Venezuela, paving the way for the poor Central American country's return to the Organization of American States and reintegration into the world community.

An official truth commission headed by former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein concluded in July 2011 that Zelaya's removal from office was a coup, but also said that the president himself had broken the law when he ignored the Supreme Court's ruling ordering him to cancel the referendum.

The report by that first commission also found that the Honduran government violated human rights by causing the deaths of 20 people in the seven months after the Zelaya's ouster.

The report issued by the unofficial truth commission on Wednesday found that 58 people were killed during and after the coup.

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