Call on Honduras to release Edwin pending fair trial and guarantee impartial justice to everyone arrested during election protests



Honduran authorities must guarantee the rights of Edwin Espinal and others targeted during post-election protests 



Long time human rights defender Edwin Espinal has paid a heavy price for courageously raising his voice. He was arrested in January during a violent crackdown on massive protests against alleged election fraud. During this crackdown scores of Hondurans were killed, injured and arbitrarily detained by heavily-armed state security forces. Edwin is now wasting away in a military-run prison with no end in sight.

Like others arrested during the protests, Edwin has limited communication with his family, including his Canadian partner Karen Spring, a human rights activist based in Tegucigalpa. Dire prison conditions are putting his physical and psychological health at serious risk.


Equally concerning are grave violations of Edwin’s right to defend himself against charges the authorities have failed to substantiate, while they order him imprisoned without trial.

Please raise your voice for Edwin and the many others threatened by misuse of the criminal justice system in Honduras. Please raise your voice to ensure the right to freedom of expression and protest is respected.

Learn more: 

Read our blog: Courage, Protest and a Man Called Edwin

Amnesty International’s June 2018 Report: Protest Prohibited 

UN Report: Human rights violations in the context of the 2017 elections in Honduras 



To: Oscar Chinchilla, Attorney General of Honduras

cc: Hon Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister

I am deeply concerned about grave human rights violations experienced by people facing criminal charges and unjust imprisonment in the aftermath of protests over the November 2017 elections in Honduras.

Edwin Róbelo Espinal is an emblematic case. He has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention in La Tolva prison, along with persons convicted for extremely violent crimes. The legal proceedings against him are being conducted by a court with competence on a limited list of the most serious crimes, which are not the charges he faces. His right to have access to his family and lawyer has been restricted unjustifiably, as has his right to defend himself and other due process guarantees.

This is the same unjust and unacceptable situation suffered by Raúl Eduardo Ordoῆez Álvarez, also imprisoned in La Tolva.
Another emblematic case involves Jhony Salgado, who police accuse of illegally carrying a weapon and police equipment during protests at which he was not even present. He was threatened and pressured into signing a “confession” he could not read. While Mr Salgado has now been released from four months in pre-trial detention, he is still facing trumped up charges.
Such injustices give rise to perceptions that Honduras is misusing the criminal justice system to punish and discourage dissent and legitimate social protest.

I call on to you to ensure that people are able to exercise their right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest in Honduras without fear of reprisals.
In particular, I urge you to take the following concrete steps:
  * Ensure the right to freedom of Edwin Róbelo Espinal, Raúl Eduardo Ordoῆez Álvarez and Jhony Salgado by immediately releasing Mr Espinal and Mr Álvarez pending timely, impartial trial; dropping the charges against Mr Salgado; and ensuring guarantees of due process for all three, in line with international standards.
  *  Implement an immediate, transparent review of all the procedures carried out against the three men and remedy all violations of due process without delay.