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Honduras lawmakers pass police corruption law

The Honduran National Congress [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday approved controversial amendments to the police law [materials, in Spanish] designed to eliminate corruption. Approval came after the congress voted to dismiss four justices [JURIST report] of the country's Supreme Court [official websites, in Spanish] last week after the justices ruled that the police reform bill supported by President Porfirio Lobo [NYT profile] was unconstitutional. The law requires [El Heraldo report, in Spanish] police to take a lie detector test, although failure will not be cause for immediate dismissal. Police can also be required to undergo drug tests and investigations into their personal finances.

Tension between the three branches of government in Honduras has risen recently, and Lobo has expressed concern that he may be forced out of office like his predecessor, who was removed during the 2009 military coup [JURIST report]. The Honduran Truth and Reconciliation Commission declared last June that the coup was unconstitutional [JURIST report] but stated that former president Manuel Zelaya was culpable when he ignored orders of the Supreme Court. Zelaya signed an agreement [JURIST report] in May 2011 allowing his return to the country after nearly two years in exile. Earlier that month a Honduran court dismissed the two remaining conspiracy charges [JURIST report] against Zelaya, clearing the way for his return to the country. In July 2010 a Honduran court dismissed abuse of power charges against Zelaya after his successor granted amnesty [JURIST reports] to Zelaya and those involved in his removal.

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