Top Story

Anti-corruption lawyer flees Honduras after threats

Gabriela Castellanos’ departure comes after her organization published a report accusing the government of nepotism.

A prominent Honduran anti-corruption activist has filed a complaint with the Honduran human rights commissioner, claiming threats forced him and his family to flee the country over the weekend.

Gabriela Castellanos, director of the National Anti-Corruption Council (CNA) non-profit group, left Honduras on the recommendation of her security team after “a series of indications in recent days” indicated she was in danger, Council Dr.

“We will continue to fight corruption” Castellanos tweeted Monday morning. “This is everyone’s war. They will not stop us.”

He also spoke to Honduran media about the threat, telling HCH television on Monday that his departure came “even sooner” than he expected. “I think our job responsibility is to act in a responsible manner, with the truth, no matter the cost,” Castellanos said.

His accusations come in the wake of a CNA investigation released in May, which targeted the administration of Honduran President Xiomara Castro.

The report titled “Concentration of Power” found evidence of government nepotism.

Honduran President Xiomara Castro delivers a speech on April 21, 2023 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Recent anti-corruption reports have accused Honduran President Xiomara Castro of nepotism [File: Fredy Rodriguez/Reuters]

The wife of former president Manuel Zelaya, the leftist Castro became Honduras’ first female president after leading a broad coalition to victory in the 2021 presidential election. His victory ended 12 years of rule by Honduras’ conservative National Party.

But the CNA alleged that Castro has since used his position to concentrate power within his family, naming his husband and close relatives to key government positions.

“Governmental power has been acquired by a single family, when Mrs. Iris Xiomara Castro Sarmiento was elected as President of the Republic of Honduras,” the report said, using the president’s full name.

The report noted that Zelaya and the couple’s son, José Manuel Zelaya Castro, were appointed as presidential advisers. Another of their sons, Hector Manuel Zelaya Castro, was appointed private presidential secretary.

Other members of Castro’s extended family have served as ambassadors and ministers. A headline in El Heraldo compared the Council of Ministers to a “family tree”.

Three officers pose by the railing: one in a suit and tie, another in a pant suit, and a third in a white military dress uniform.
Castro (center) poses with Defense Minister Jose Manuel Zellair (left), a relative, during a military ceremony in December [File: Fredy Rodriguez/Reuters]

In his interview with HCH Television on Monday, Castellanos — whose exact whereabouts were not immediately clear after he left Honduras — said his organization continued to operate despite the alleged threats.

“Where I am from, I will continue to work, and as a civil society, we must say whether they like it or not,” he told the news outlet.

Castellanos also said he submitted the threats he received to Honduras’ National Commissioner for Human Rights (CONADEH), an independent agency created by congressional decree.

The agency acknowledged receipt of Castellanos’ complaint. “The complaint was accepted for processing, and procedures to ensure the life and integrity of the applicant will be carried out under the responsibility of CONADEH,” it said in one. statement on Twitter.

A woman stands in front of a projection of a family tree and speaks
Castellanos (pictured) and his organization accused Castro of consolidating power within his family [CNA/Handout via Reuters]

In recent years, large numbers of Honduran activists have faced threats and violence, particularly those involved in environmental advocacy.

Last week, water defender Okeli Dominguez – who protested local iron oxide mining – was shot dead at his home in Toccoa.

Six months earlier, in January, his brother Ally Dominguez and colleague Jairo Bonilla were gunned down on the road between La Concepcion and Guapinol. Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, called for an independent investigation into their deaths.

The 2016 assassination of indigenous rights leader Berta Cáceres drew global attention to the threats activists face in the region. He won the Goldman Environmental Prize – an international honor – just a year ago.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button