Nine males between the ages of 12 and 17 were detained yesterday afternoon and held in jail overnight in a facility unsuitable for minors, without the notification of their parents/guardians or the Honduran Institute for Children and Families (INHFA). They were not charged with any criminal offense and were released at approximately 12:00 noon today after a visit by a COFADEH lawyer who petitioned for their release for several hours. These youth are reported to have participated in at least one march of the resistance movement, as part of a group of young people organizing educational activities encouraging reflection upon the political and social realities currently being experienced in Honduras.
COFADEH is manifesting grave concern to the national and international human rights community in the face of the continued criminalization and repression of young people and members of the Resistance in Honduras by state forces, such as the police, since the coup d’etat on June 28, 2009, repression which has continued in a targeted, violent manner under the government of President Porfirio Lobo in 2010. Their testimony is below.
We, the undersigned [names are committed to protect the victims’ identities as minors], who are minors, Honduran, and residents of the Sanai neighborhood of Comayagüela, freely and of our own volition appear before the Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) and offer the following testimony.
FIRST: Yesterday the 1st of July between 3:30 and 4:00 PM we were in the Sinaí neighborhood in the house of our friend Jankel Alejandro, where we were having a meeting and celebration related to our school, where various Preventative Police officers arrived in patrol vehicles marked No. 103 and 109 and forced the lock of the house and entered without presenting any kind of warrant. They proceeded to search us even though we weren’t carrying anything that illegal, they handcuffed our wrists with our shoelaces and loaded us onto their patrol trucks, taking us in the direction of the 5th precinct which is located in the Granja neighborhood.
SECOND: When we arrived at the above mentioned precinct they ordered us to get down from the trucks, as they watched us get down they proceeded to hit us one by one. We were in that precinct for about 10 minutes then they moved us to the 4th precinct which is in the Belén neighborhood, they took us to the jail cell there where we were detained for approximately eight hours.
THIRD: We hereby authorize COFADEH to carry out any follow-up actions that they consider to be necessary.
For the record, we sign this testimony in the city of Tegucigalpa, Municipality of the Central District, on the 2nd day of July, 2010. [Signatures on the original document]