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Honduras - Journalist and rights activist found dead

Reporters Without Borders - Wed, 9 May 2012 16:12 GMT
Author: Reporters Without Borders
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Reporters Without Borders calls on the authorities to render justice in the murder of Erick Martínez Ã&${esc.hash}129;vila, a 32-year-old opposition journalist and gay rights activist whose body was found at the side of the road between Tegucigalpa and Olancho on 7 May, two days after his family reported him missing. Local officials said he appeared to have been strangled. A spokesman for Kukulcán, an organization that defends lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, Martínez had recently registered as a would-be candidate to be a parliamentary representative of the opposition party, Libre, which is to hold primaries in November. Libre is the political wing of the National People's Resistance Front, which former President Manuel Zelaya created after he was ousted in a June 2009 coup. "Because of his activities and his commitment, Martínez was a marked man for the enemies of human rights and pluralism in Honduras, where 27 journalists have been killed in the past decade, 20 of them since the coup," Reporters Without Borders said. "His case recalls the December 2009 murder of fellow journalist and gay rights activist Walter Tróchez, which is still unpunished. "Who will conduct the investigation into Martínez's murder? When will it start? Will Honduran society carry out a much-needed debate about the causes he defended? His murder constitutes an attack not only on journalism but on all those who are involved in defending fundamental freedoms in Honduras. "Recalling the requests we made when the Organization of American States readmitted Honduras in June 2011, we continue to support the principle of an international commission of enquiry to shed light on the most serious human rights violations that have taken place in recent years, including this one." Reporters Without Borders has just learned that HRN radio journalist and coordinator Alfredo Villatoro was kidnapped by gunmen while on his way to work this morning in Tegucigalpa. A search has been launched and we hope that he is found safe and sound quickly.

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