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Honduras leader urges Brazil embassy to hand over Zelaya under arrest warrant

[JURIST] The head of the Honduran interim government Roberto Micheletti on Tuesday called on [La Prensa report, in Spanish] Brazil to deliver deposed president Manuel Zelaya [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] under an arrest warrant [text and materials, PPT in Spanish] issued by the Honduran Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] in June. Zelaya has taken refuge at the Brazilian Embassy [official website, in Spanish] since returning to Honduras Monday. The charges pending against Zelaya include crimes against the form of government, treason, abuse of authority, and usurping governmental powers to the detriment of the public administration and the State of Honduras. Honduran authorities have announced [La Tribuna report, in Spanish] that the curfew in place since 4:00PM Monday was lifted for a few hours Tuesday and Wednesday and will be lifted on Thursday morning. Despite the curfew, there has been widespread social unrest in the streets and there have been more than 100 arrests of suspected Zelaya supporters, as well as one death. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] said [UN News Centre report] Wednesday that "current conditions are not conducive to the holding of credible polls" scheduled for November, as he justified temporary suspension of assistance to the Honduran Supreme Electorate Court (TSE) [official website, in Spanish]. Amnesty International warned [press release] that "fundamental rights and the rule of law in [Honduras] are in grave danger."

Negotiations between Zelaya and Micheletti took place intermittently through Costa Rican President Oscar Arias until they were broken off in August by Micheletti, and the Supreme Court of Honduras unconditionally refused [criteria, PDF, in Spanish] to accept Zelaya's return to power regardless of terms. Zelaya also made several failed attempts to return to office, including attempting to fly into the country accompanied by international leaders. Also in August, the Supreme Court warned [JURIST report] that if Zelaya returned to the country, he would have to face the charges against him, while Micheletti announced that Honduras would go ahead with plans to hold elections. Zelaya was ousted [JURIST report] on June 28 following a judicial order [press release, in Spanish] asserting that 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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