Entries in Honduras (3)


Honduran Prison Fire That Killed Hundreds Was Deliberately Set

ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images(COMAYAGUA, Honduras) -- A Honduran prisoner bent on mass murder wound up killing more than 356 other inmates at a dilapidated jail in Comayagua Wednesday.

Authorities in Honduras said that inmates could be heard screaming for help as a mattress that was set on fire quickly spread flames throughout the prison built in the 1940s.  As many as 475 prisoners were able to get out of the inferno in what was described as one of the deadliest prison fires to take place in 100 years.

There was a report that the inmate who touched off the blaze shouted that he was going to kill everyone inside the jail.

It took only five minutes for the entire facility to go up in flames, making it impossible to save those trapped inside.

The situation became more chaotic afterwards when prison guards fired tear gas at family members who went to the prison to retrieve their relatives' remains.

According to officials, the prison in Comayagua housed violent criminals, including those convicted of homicide and armed robberies.

There have been other instances of deadly prison fires in Honduras, including one in 2004 that left more 100 inmates dead north of the capital of Tegucigalpa.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hundreds of Prisoners Killed in Honduras Jail Fire

ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images(TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras) -- A fire at a jail in Honduras has left at least 272 prisoners dead after the blaze broke out late Tuesday night, officials said. Dozens were burned or suffocated to death after authorities failed to open a number of the prison’s cells, BBC News reports.

"We couldn't get them out because we didn't have the keys and couldn't find the guards who had them," said Josue Garcia, a spokesman for the Comayagua firefighters.

The head of the city’s forensic services said 356 prisoners were unaccounted for and speculated they “could be dead, though others could have suffered burns, escaped or survived.”

The jail was reportedly holding some 800 inmates at the time of the fire.

Officials, according to BBC News, are investigating whether an electric fault is to blame.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Truth for Justice: Investigating the Honduras Coup

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Members of Honduras’ Truth Commission were in Washington on Thursday to provide details into their investigations of the country's 2009 coup, and press the U.S. government for further information.

The motto of the organization is "sin verdad, no hay justicia” -- which means: "without truth, there is no justice."

Honduras’ president Manuel Zelaya was removed from office in 2009 and has been living in exile in the Dominican Republic.

The commission, working with investigative journalists and the Center for Constitutional Rights, has submitted 300 Freedom of Information (FOI) requests in the U.S. related to the coup in search of government documents that can shed light on the government overthrow.

They have also brought court action against the Department of Defense and the CIA for failure to divulge truthful documents. Commission members say that litigation has resulted in the release of 287 documents in addition to those already received directly from the FOI request.

Analysis of these and other documents have allowed the commission to investigate the coup and the roles played by governmental and private, military, and civil forces in Honduras and U.S., according to commission member Craig Scott, Professor of Law at York University.

“It’s a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” Scott said.

The Truth Commission’s members say that they, along with former President Zelaya, have been receiving threats while they have conducted these investigations. Scott said the commission members and Zelaya have been targets of dozens of incidents of surveillance, intimidation, harassment, and threats. He listed specific examples of members who were kidnapped, beaten, or shot at to prove the severity of the attacks.

Last Spring Zelaya told reporters he won't return to Honduras for fear of being killed.

Zelaya said he believes he is in danger because "there are people who want to liquidate me and are still alive, and they have great power."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio