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Honduras judge drops abuse of power charges against ousted leader Zelaya

A Honduran judge on Friday dropped two abuse of power charges against ousted leader Manuel Zelaya [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Judge Humberto Palacios dismissed the charges [AP report] because of the amnesty [JURIST report] granted to those involved in Zelaya's removal by the Honduran congress in January. Zelaya still faces other charges including fraud, usurping other institutions' authority and falsifying documents. Honduras remains split over the events of June 28, 2009, when Zelaya was forced into exile. Many still support Zelaya and believe him to be the legitimate leader of the country. The Popular National Resistance Front (FNRP), which supports Zelaya's return to power, is seeking to be recognized [Hondurasweekly report] as an official political party within Honduras and has grown under the banner of creating an assembly to review and rewrite the country's constitution.

Last month, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] accused the Honduran government of failing to address human rights violations [JURIST report] stemming from the June 2009 coup. AI contends that hundreds of people opposed to the coup have been beaten and detained. The group cited evidence that judges critical of the coup have "suffered a series of arbitrary transferrals and unfair disciplinary proceedings" as well as threats and intimidation. The interim government has been attempting to restore Honduras's reputation internationally. In May, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] announced that Honduras dropped proceedings against Brazil [JURIST report] brought by the Honduran interim government last October in response to the sheltering of Zelaya.

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