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Visiting Spain judge concerned by Honduras rights situation

[JURIST] Spanish National Court Judge Baltasar Garzon [BBC profile] said during a visit to Honduras Tuesday that he is gravely concerned by the human rights situation in the country. Garzon, famed for indicting Osama bin Laden and former Latin American dictator Augusto Pinochet [JURIST news archives], spoke at a human rights forum [El Universal report, in Spanish] organized by the Center for Research and Promotion of Human Rights and the Committee of Relatives of Victims of Disappearance [advocacy websites, in Spanish]. Garzon arrived in Honduras [El Tiempo report, in Spanish] Sunday to investigate the human rights situation in the wake of the ouster of President Manual Zelaya [BBC profile]. Garzon reported hearing from victims who had suffered numerous violations of their fundamental rights. Meanwhile, interim leader Roberto Micheletti announced Tuesday that Honduras would go ahead with plans to hold elections, whether the rest of the world recognizes them or not.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Honduras [official website, in Spanish] warned that if Zelaya returns to the country, he will stand trial for treason and abuse of power [JURIST report]. Also last week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS) [official website], released preliminary findings [press release, in Spanish] from their recent visit [JURIST report] to Honduras. The panel found that the interim government has committed human rights abuses and urged a return to democratic rule. Earlier this month, the Honduran Office of the Prosecutor of Common Crimes indicted 24 Zelaya supporters [JURIST report] on charges of sedition and damaging public property. Zelaya was ousted [JURIST report] on June 28 following a judicial order [press release] asserting he had broken Honduran law by attempting to conduct a controversial referendum on constitutional reform [JURIST report] contrary to a Honduran Supreme Court ruling.

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