Honduras prison tragedy scandal

Honduras: The prisoners whose scorched bodies were carried out piece by piece this morning from a charred Honduran prison had been locked inside an overcrowded facility where most inmates had never been charged, let alone convicted: here.

See also here. And here.

Mark Engler, Dissent Magazine: “Honduras has become a human rights disaster. The country now has the world’s highest murder rate. And impunity for political violence is the norm. For all this, the United States deserves a good deal of the blame…. Lest anyone in this country think that things in Honduras have settled into a peaceable, post-coup normality, [due to a] chain of events – a coup that the United States didn’t stop, a fraudulent election that it accepted – [that] has now allowed corruption to mushroom”: here.

Poverty and crime bring Honduras to its knees: here.

A female union leader has won a prestigious award for her struggle to support workers in Honduras supplying bananas to British shops for as little as £5 a day: here.

Free speech advocates demanded an international investigation into attacks on journalists in Honduras on Monday after a radio host was killed by machete blows: here.

WASHINGTON, DC (March 12, 2012) – Today Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and 93 fellow House members sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to raise the alarm over human rights violations in Honduras where human rights defenders, journalists, community leaders and opposition activists are subject to death threats, attacks and extrajudicial executions. Today also marks the 18th fatal attack on a member of the news media in the past two years after a Honduran journalist was killed by an unknown attacker wielding a machete: here.

The constitutional chamber of the Honduras Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that privately run cities would be unconstitutional, threatening a project to build “model cities” with their own police, laws, government and tax systems: here.

Lauren Carasik, Boston Review: The United States should carry out an independent review of the joint U.S.-Honduras drug enforcement operation that went terribly awry, killing four Honduran civilians: here.

In the two years since the ICC opened its preliminary investigation, Honduras has become the murder capital of the world and among the most dangerous countries in which to be a reporter. It is time for the Court to intervene: here.

7 thoughts on “Honduras prison tragedy scandal

  1. Stem violence in prisons,says UN

    LATIN AMERICA: The United Nations human rights office called on Honduras and governments across the region today to urgently stem “an alarming pattern of prison violence.”

    A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that an independent probe was needed into the fire in the Comayagua prison in Honduras that killed 355 people on Wednesday.

    Rupert Colville said said that chronic overcrowding, lack of sanitation, poor health care and other problems “are by no means confined to Honduras” but also contributed to “a wave of violence in prisons across Latin America” in recent weeks with deaths in Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela and Chile.



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  3. 18 dead in Honduran prison fire amid inmate riot

    Originally published: March 29, 2012 3:43 PM
    Updated: March 29, 2012 6:03 PM

    By The Associated Press ALBERTO ARCE (Associated Press)

    TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – (AP) — At least 18 people died during an uprising by armed inmates at a Honduran prison Thursday, one of them decapitated and the others killed by a fire started by the rioters, authorities said.

    The unrest came six weeks after a fire at another prison in Honduras killed 361 inmates. A fire official said the toll from the latest blaze could rise.

    Yair Mesa, police commissioner of the rough northern city of San Pedro Sula, said Thursday’s riot had been brought under control.

    “The uprising has been put down without the need to fire shots,” Mesa said by telephone from inside the prison.

    But National fire chief Alfonso Medina said one part of the prison was still under control of inmates who be armed with grenades.

    San Pedro Sula Bishop Romulo Emiliani arrived outside the prison, saying he had been asked to serve as a negotiator with the inmates.

    Emiliani reflected the prevailing view that such tragedies are bound to recur in Honduras’ overcrowded prison system.

    “Everybody has known for some time that the authorities have no interest in the prisons. They are a time bomb that will continue to explode,” the bishop said.

    In 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, Honduras’ prison system had nearly 38 percent more prisoners than it was built to house, according to the London-based International Centre for Prison Studies.

    Mesa said most of the victims apparently died of burns or asphyxiation, but said the cause of death could not immediately be determined because the bodies were so badly burned. One prisoner’s head was cut off and tossed outside the prison during the riot.

    Inmates carried the burned bodies from the site of the blaze and set them out in the prison yard.

    Medina said the death toll was not final because security officers had not been able to check all of the prison.

    City fire chief Jose Danilo Flores said the prisoners themselves appeared to have fought the fire inside the facility. He said the armed inmates initially kept firefighters from entering.

    San Pedro Sula is believed to be one of the most dangerous cities in a country that has the highest homicide rate in the world. A fire at the San Pedro Sula prison in 2004 killed 107 inmates.

    Thursday’s uprising came a month and a half after Honduras’ overcrowded prisons were hit by the worst prison fire in a century — a Feb. 14 conflagration at the Comayagua farm prison that killed 361 inmates.

    Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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