Sr. Juan Orlando Hernández
President of Honduras
Sr. Óscar Fernando Chinchilla Banegas
Attorney General of Honduras
October 26, 2018
We are outraged at continuing threats against Ians Rivera and Fredy Molina, members of the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ).
On October 9, Ians Rivera, an MADJ volunteer, was kidnapped while driving in San Pedro Sula in Cortés Department. Armed men pulled him out of his car and into a black truck, leaving his car on the side of the highway. Following an alert from MADJ on social media, police found him alive that evening near El Progreso in Yoro Department after his captors beat and abandoned him. He explained in a press conference at the police station in El Progreso that he suspects he was kidnapped because of his human rights work.
On October 11 at about 9:00am, the transit police detained Fredy Molina, age 17, a member of the youth contingent of the environmental defense protest camp at Pajuiles, Atlántida Department, for supposedly “disrupting public order.” In the hours following his detention, when concerned community members and MADJ called police stations to find him, police denied that he was detained. In the late afternoon, he was located under police custody in Tela, Atlántida Department. He had bruises on his arms and chest, and, although a minor, was held in a cell with adult prisoners.
Both Ians Rivera and Fredy Molina have faced threats and violence in the past for their involvement in defending human rights. State security forces beat Ians Rivera during the repression that followed the presidential election of last year. Fredy Molina has received threats for his involvement in the community of Pajuiles as they organize resistance to the Hidrocep hydroelectric dam, which threatens the water source to 20 communities. Both are recipients of precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
We believe the two incidents described here are representative of a continually escalating strategy to intimidate MADJ and to stop their critical work. We strongly urge that you
take immediate action to investigate the actions against Ians Rivera and Fredy Molina, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice;
guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai
Marlon R. Tábora Muñoz, Ambassador of Honduras to the US ~ via website or fax, and US mail
Heide B. Fulton, Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy in Honduras ~ via email
Jason Smith, Human Rights and Labor Representative, US Embassy in Honduras ~ via email
Olivia Franken, Honduras Desk, US State Dept ~ via email
Joel Hernández, Rapporteur for Honduras, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Renacci, Ryan ~ via email