IACHR DEPLORES MURDER OF JOURNALIST IN HONDURAS
Washington, D.C., March 16, 2010 - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) regrets and deplores the murder in Honduras of Nahún Palacios, a beneficiary of precautionary measures handed down by the Commission on July 24, 2009, and strongly condemns the lack of guarantees for freedom of expression in that country.
According to the information the Commission has received, Nahún Palacios was killed by two unknown individuals who gunned him down with AK-47 automatic weapons on the night of Sunday, March 14, when he was returning to his home in the neighborhood of Los Pinos in the city of Tocoa, some 400 kilometers north of Tegucigalpa. The information indicates that the journalist, who was news director for Aguán Television, Channel 5, received 30 bullet wounds, and the vehicle in which he was traveling was pocked with 42 bullet marks. The two individuals traveling with him reportedly were injured.
Following the coup d'état on June 28, 2009, Nahún Palacios covered the demonstrations organized by the resistance to the coup and publicly expressed his rejection of the overthrow of the government. According to the information received by the Commission, on June 30, 2009, a military operation was carried out in which troops confiscated television work equipment from him, raided his home, held his children at gunpoint, and seized his vehicle.
On July 24, 2009, the IACHR granted precautionary measures for Nahún Palacios, requesting that the State of Honduras adopt the necessary measures to protect his life and personal integrity. According to the information received, these measures were not implemented by the Honduran authorities. In recent weeks, Nahún Palacios was covering the agrarian conflict taking place in Aguán between the Movimiento Campesino Unificado (MUCA)—United Farm Workers Movement—and business owners, as well as a military operation that led to the seizure of weapons and drugs and the capture of 18 people. In recent days the journalist had received new threats.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and its Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression deeply regret the murder of Nahún Palacios and the fact that the State did not implement precautionary measures to protect his life. They urge the Honduran authorities to investigate this crime quickly and effectively and duly prosecute and punish its perpetrators and masterminds.
The IACHR expresses its deep concern over this third murder of a journalist in Honduras so far this month, following the violent deaths of Joseph Hernández Ochoa on March 1 and David Meza Montesinos on March 11. The Inter-American Commission calls on the State of Honduras to adopt urgent measures to guarantee the lives and integrity of journalists at risk and to ensure the effective exercise of the right to freedom of expression.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
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