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Honduran Mil. Assassinates Youth on Election Eve

Honduran Military Assassinates Youth on Eve of “Free and Fair” Elections


Story Filed By Julie Webb-Pullman
TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS
November 28, 2009

Between Thursday midnight and early this morning, four young men were traveling in a car near the High Command of the Honduran Army. Suddenly the men saw a soldier shouting for them to stop. The driver, Angel Salgado Hernandez, age 34, applied the brakes, but before the car could stop, the soldier opened fire. Salgado was shot point-blank in the head, and the car was sprayed with at least three bullets, possibly more.

Salgado’s family received a call in the early morning hours advising them that Angel was in the emergency room at the Hospital Escuela. As a part of the family headed toward the hospital, others went to the DGIC (the Central Department of General Investigations) to immediately file a complaint.

As we arrived at the hospital at 11:00 this morning, the hallway was filled with shell-shocked family members. Clearly Angel was dying. The bullet broke his skull as it entered his head and again as it exited. Most of his cranium was destroyed. Doctors had started to operate, but could not stabilize him enough to survive the surgery. As I write this he is on life support, but it is only a matter of time. Angel Salgado is dying – assassinated by the Honduran army.

As the international press arrived, family members stepped forward, timidly at first, to relate what little they knew. But by the time Angel’s sister-in-law, Ana Alviro spoke, the timidity had disappeared. “This is how they kill people in this country;” she said, “like dogs. And they can do this because we, the Honduran people, stay silent. We can’t continue like this – we have to stand up.”

Here’s what we know: after the shooting, all four of the young men were taken to the police station. Police were told not to notify the family, but somehow Salgado’s brother arrived at the police station not long after. He was told that the military said the men were armed (but no arms have been found). The crime scene had already been cleaned, so it was impossible to reconstruct events with any accuracy.

From the police station, all four were brought to the hospital emergency room. Immediately Angel was taken to intensive care. Although one of the other men had also been shot in the foot, he received no medical attention. Instead they were taken to the DGIC and interrogated. After the interrogation, the three were taken to their homes by the military.

“Clearly this was done to intimidate the three witnesses – to tell them, ‘We know where you live,’” Angel’s brother Octavia Alvira said. To witness a man shot in the head by the military (some sources say a colonel) is a terrifying thing on the eve of these elections intended to legitimate a military coups. The witnesses are now in hiding.

This morning shortly before we arrived, two military “doctors,” identifying themselves as “Dr”. Chacon and “Dr.” Rivera entered the intensive care salon. They stood around Angel’s bed, apparently to see if they had to fear his possible testimony. Hospital workers said they had never seen military doctors in the Hospital Escuela. Ana Alvira said they subsequently checked the identity of these so-called doctors, and everything they said was lies.

As the cameras honed in on family members, we moved to protect Angel’s mother from the intrusion as she wept uncontrollably. “My child is gone – my little child is gone,” she wept. “He was not armed. He was assassinated.”

Tanya Brannan
Rights Action & National Lawyers Guild

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