Original article in Spanish by Mario Casasus, DefensoresEnLinea.com
Lawyer Kenia Oliva and human rights activist Mery Agurcia will represent the Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) in three Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hearings on October 25th and 26th in Washington, DC: Protective Measures, Freedom of Expression, and Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders.
In a radio interview by the Voices Against Forgetting (Voces contra el olvido) program, Kenia Oliva explained: “We will follow up on the case of protective measures, report on the state of freedom of expression, and denounce the criminalization of human rights defenders. We are taking well-documented case files to demonstrate that human rights violations are still occurring. The State has even criminalized human rights defenders. In this situation of legal uncertainty, the Office of the Public Prosecutor itself, which would be the institution responsible for protecting and cooperating with human rights defenders in terms of investigating human rights violations, is instead criminalizing defenders, initiating criminal charges against them.”
Kenia Oliva will also take advantage that “while in Washington, on October 26th, the time limit to respond to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding the case of ‘The Six Students’ is up. COFADEH was involved in a process of an “Amicable Settlement with the State.” In 2008, the government of President Zelaya had enacted an Executive Decree in which the government committed to starting a National Program of Reparations for Victims of Human Rights Violations during the 1980s. However, the Office of the Public Prosecutor opposed its creation, arguing that it was excluding. Thus, COFADEH decided not to pursue the “Amicable Settlement” and to instead to follow the formal case proceedings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”
The case of ‘The Six Students’ dates back to 1982, when army soldiers kidnapped six students – Milton and Marlen Jimenez Puerto, Gilda and Suyapa Rivera Sierra, and Edwin and Adan Guillermo Lopez Rodezno – and tortured them for four days. In July 1995, the Special Attorney for Human Rights, Sonia Dubon, accused ten military officials with attempted murder and illegal detention in connection with the “temporary disappearance” of the students. Among the accused military officials were Raymundo Alexander Hernandez and Billy Joya Amendola, who both currently live in total impunity.
Translated from Spanish by Sandra Cuffe