Date: Thu, 6 Aug 98 19:04:08 CDT
/** reg.nicaragua: 68.0 **/
Soldiers Charged in 1983 Murder
Weekly News Update on the Americas, issue 444, 2 August 1998
On July 30, three Honduran military officers were charged in a court in the northern city of San Pedro Sula with the 1983 murder of Herminio Deras, a leader of the Honduran Communist Party (PCH). The three accused are Col. Alexander Hernandez, a fugitive since 1995 from charges in another repression case; Capt. Rafael Canales Nunez; and Lt. Marco Tulio Regalado. Hernandez and Regalado were members of Battalion 3-16, an army death squad that was responsible for the murder and disappearance of numerous Honduran leftists and activists during the 1980s. Canales was an officer in the National Investigations Directorate (DNI), a secret military police force shut down in June 1994 [see Update #228].
At the time, the media reported that Deras was shot to death on a street in San Pedro Sula on Jan. 29, 1983, by unidentified armed men who dragged him from his car. However, Fausto Reyes Caballero, an alleged former member of Battalion 3-16 who was deported to Honduras from Canada on July 21 of this year, told US newspapers in 1996 that he had arrested Deras and handed him over alive to three other agents, who then killed the communist leader. [El Diario-La Prensa 8/1/98 from EFE]
About 50 women protested in front of the Honduran presidential palace on July 30 to demand the release of their sons, husbands and other relatives, imprisoned for common crimes. The women were prevented from entering the building; they gave the press a communique demanding pardons for their relatives held in the Central Penitentiary of Tegucigalpa. "We are convinced that none of our relatives, for whom we implore pardon, would go out to commit crimes against their neighbors or against society in general," the women said. [ED-LP 7/31/98 from AFP]