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Honduras government lays sedition charges against Zelaya supporters

[JURIST] The Honduran Office of the Prosecutor of Common Crimes indicted 24 supporters of ousted president Manuel Zelaya [JURIST news archive] on charges of sedition and damages Friday. All 24 were accused [La Prensa report, in Spanish] of robbery, sedition, damages to private property, and illegal demonstrations stemming from protests on Wednesday. Eleven of the protestors are still detained at the National Penitentiary and 13 have been released conditionally. The National Organization Against the Coup d'Etat (FNCGE) [advocacy website, in Spanish] said Tuesday that if Zelaya is not reinstated over the next few day the organization will escalate government resistance actions and peaceful demonstrations that it has been carrying out since Zelaya was ousted [JURIST report] on June 28 following a judicial order [Honduras Supreme Court press release] asserting he had broken Honduran law by attempting to conduct a controversial referendum on constitutional reform contrary to a Honduran Supreme Court ruling. Earlier in the week, three protesters were also indicted on charges of aggravated arson and crimes of terrorism for allegedly burning a bus and a restaurant in Tuesday's political demonstrations. Honduran NGOs including the Committee of Families of Disappeared Detainees in Honduras (COFADEH) [materials, in Spanish] and the Center for Research and Advocacy of Human Rights (CIPRODEH) [report, PDF, in Spanish] have denounced human rights violations and political repression from police actions.

The government of interim President Roberto Micheletti has faced sanctions from the international community. The European Union and several Latin American countries have withdrawn their ambassadors. The UN General Assembly approved [press release] a resolution on June 30 calling members to not recognize the Honduran government until Zelaya is reinstated. On July 4, the Organization of American States (OAS) expelled Honduras after the Honduran Supreme Court refused [JURIST report] to reinstate Zelaya, and the Inter-American Development Bank suspended its aid package to the country. Negotiations between Zelaya and Micheletti have been going on intermittently through Costa Rican President Oscar Arias without any results. Zelaya has made several failed attempts to return to office, including attempting to fly into the country accompanied by international leaders. The US has condemned [DOS briefing transcript] Zelaya's removal and supports his return.

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