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Honduras court dismisses conspiracy charges against ex-president Zelaya

A Honduran court on Monday dismissed the two remaining charges of conspiracy against former president Manuel Zelaya [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], allowing him to return to the country. The ruling could lead to Honduras being readmitted to the Organization of American States (OAS) [official website], which expelled the country after the 2009 coup [JURIST report] that saw Zelaya's ouster. OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza was satisfied with the decision [press release], saying it "puts an end to the situation of uncertainty regarding the legal situation of the former leader that began after the coup." Zelaya, however, fears returning to Honduras [AP report] from his location in the Dominican Republic, claiming there are powerful businessmen who want him killed.

In March, the Center for Constitutional Rights [advocacy website] filed a complaint [text, PDF] to compel the release of documents related to the coup [JURIST report]. The complaint names the US Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency [official websites] as defendants, alleging the agencies withheld documents regarding if and how the US government and its interests affected the coup. In November, International Criminal Court [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] opened a preliminary investigation [JURIST report] into the coup. In July, a Honduran court dismissed abuse of power charges against Zelaya because his successor granted amnesty [JURIST reports] to Zelaya and those involved in his removal. In June, Amnesty International [advocacy website] accused the Honduran government [JURIST report] of failing to address human rights violations stemming from the coup. AI contends that hundreds of people opposed to the coup were beaten and detained.

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