US asks Honduras to arrest, extradite ex-President Hernández

The ministry didn’t determine the politician. However Honduras’ present vp, Salvador Nasralla, confirmed to The Related Press that the request names Hernández.

Later, the president of the Supreme Courtroom of Justice referred to as an pressing session of the complete courtroom for Tuesday morning to decide on a decide to think about the extradition request from america.

Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Division of Justice, declined to remark. The U.S. State Division referred requests for remark to the Justice Division.

CNN en Español first reported that the politician was Hernández, displaying the communication from the ministry to the courtroom naming Hernández.

Hernández’s lawyer, Hermes Ramírez, accused authorities of being unfair to the previous president. He stated Hernández was contained in the Tegucigalpa residence.

“Presently the secretary of safety is violating the rule of regulation by desirous to execute an arrest order violating the process that’s established by regulation,” the lawyer instructed native media. “We depart clear the abuse that my consumer ex-President Juan Orlando Hernández is the topic of.”

Numerous contingents of the Nationwide Police, together with particular forces, in addition to army police have been current round Hernández’s neighborhood Monday night time. Limitations have been arrange at the entire entrances to maintain the press and even residents out.

Members of the safety forces entered the world with weapons, sporting balaclavas and with handcuffs dangling from their ballistic vests. Some neighbors stated the home had been darkish and so they imagine unoccupied.

Supporters of recent President Xiomara Castro arrived as properly, waving flags from her celebration and celebrating.

Over the weekend, Hernández had posted images of himself enjoying along with his canine in an obvious try and knock down rumors that he had fled the nation.

Hernández left workplace Jan. 27 with the swearing in of Castro. The identical day he was sworn in as Honduras’ consultant to the Central American Parliament.

Ramírez stated Monday night time that Hernández had immunity due to his place within the regional parliament and insisted that he had a proper to a presumption of innocence.

With a weak and co-opted Honduran justice system, Hondurans’ hope for justice had rested for years with U.S. federal prosecutors in New York, the place a string of revelations in opposition to Hernández was intently adopted again residence.

Hypothesis had swirled for months over whether or not Hernández can be charged as soon as he was not president, as a result of U.S. prosecutors in New York repeatedly implicated him in his brother’s 2019 drug trafficking trial, alleging that his political rise was fueled by drug earnings.

Hernández strongly denied any such actions.

The brother, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, himself a former Honduran congressman, was sentenced to life in jail on drug and weapons expenses in March 2021. At his sentencing, Assistant U.S. Legal professional Matthew Laroche characterised the crimes as “state-sponsored drug trafficking.”

In an audio recording despatched to his employees that day, the then president stated his brother’s conviction “is tough for the household, laborious for me personally.”

“I discover it outrageous; I discover it unbelievable that false testimony by confessed killers might have been heard and given weight on this manner,” he continued, citing Honduras’ progress in lowering violence as proof of his stance in opposition to organized crime.

U.S. prosecutors stated Tony Hernández brokered massive bribes from drug traffickers to his brother in trade for safeguarding their shipments by way of Honduras. In some circumstances, members of the Nationwide Police and army escorted drug shipments, prosecutors stated.

They stated Juan Orlando Hernández acquired bribes whereas nonetheless a member of Honduras’ congress and directed bribes to different lawmakers so they’d help him because the physique’s president.

Hernández has lengthy stated that the accusations in opposition to him come from drug traffickers, who in some circumstances he extradited and who are actually searching for revenge. He has denied any involvement with drug traffickers.

Hernández grew to become president of the congress in early 2010. By 2013, he was campaigning to be Honduras’ president and allegedly solicited $1.6 million from a drug trafficker to help his marketing campaign and people of different politicians within the Nationwide Social gathering, in keeping with U.S. authorities.

Tony Hernández additionally acquired $1 million from Mexican kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán to help his brother’s presidential marketing campaign, prosecutors stated. They stated Tony Hernández had promised the Sinaloa cartel chief that if his brother received the presidency, they might shield Guzmán’s drug shipments by way of Honduras.

Juan Orlando Hernández took workplace Jan. 27, 2014. U.S. authorities allege he continued receiving drug earnings whereas in workplace in trade for permitting medicine to maneuver by way of Honduras.

Hernández was additionally named as a “co-conspirator” within the case of convicted drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes Ramírez. Witnesses within the two-week trial shortly earlier than Tony Hernández’s sentencing instructed of Hernández accepting bribes from Fuentes Ramírez and different drug traffickers from his time as a presidential candidate up by way of at the least 2019.

Hernández used a pleasant Supreme Courtroom to beat Honduras’ constitutional ban on re-election and received a second time period in 2017 in elections marred by irregularities.

He was a deeply unpopular president at a time that noticed tens of hundreds of Hondurans flee the nation as a result of an absence of financial alternative, avenue gang violence and pure disasters.

Hernández labored to curry favor with the Trump administration, which was centered largely on slowing immigration. The Trump administration was fast to acknowledge Hernández’s re-election victory within the disputed election. When accusations in opposition to Hernández emerged from trials in New York, Hernández would typically use picture ops with U.S. officers to indicate that he had nothing to cover.

The Biden administration, nonetheless, labored to maintain Hernández at arm’s size, regularly repeating that corruption was one of many root causes of migration within the area.

Hernández has centered his protection largely on his file of extraditing drug traffickers to america and Honduran safety forces’ cooperation with U.S. authorities intercepting drug shipments.

Honduras modified its structure in 2012 — whereas Hernández was president of the congress — to permit the extradition of Hondurans dealing with drug trafficking expenses. And drug traffickers have been extradited beneath Hernández. Nonetheless, the U.S. authorities has complained that Honduras lately had not extradited others, together with some alleged co-conspirators of Tony Hernández.

Final week, the U.S. State Division stated it had quietly positioned Hernández on a listing of Central American officers suspected of corruption or undermining democracy final yr.

Related Press author Marlon González reported this story in Tegucigalpa and AP author Christopher Sherman reported from Mexico Metropolis. AP videojournalist Elmer Martínez contributed from Tegucigalpa.