Honduran civil rights activists are calling on President Juan Orlando Hernández to release 26 political prisoners, who were detained in protest following the country's controversial 2017 presidential elections. The activists staged the protest outside the office of the Public Prosecutor in Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa, on Monday calling for authorities to release all prisoners and drop all charges against them immediately.
The "decentralized," Honduras Solidarity Network collective, which comprises of nearly 30 organizations, from across the Americas, including the United States and Canada, organized the global day of action committed to showing solidarity with the social movements in the central American country.
"Twenty-six political prisoners in Honduras depend on your solidarity! Detained in the context of the 2017 electoral crisis and the pro-democracy protests to denounce the electoral fraud, the majority of the political prisoners are being held in pre-trial detention in horrific conditions in maximum security, military-run prisons," the Network, said in a statement.
They added the prisoners could spend up to 2.5 years in jail before being sentenced by a judge.
"We demand that Honduran authorities immediately release all of the political prisoners and drop all charges against them," the statement added while chastising the U.S. and Canadain for "recognizing, supporting, and financing the current Juan Orlando Hernandez regime that systematically violates basic human rights and the rule of law."
A March 12 UNHCHR report, "Human Rights Violations in the Context of the 2017 Honduran Elections" which denounced Hernandez, recounted the horrors of human rights violations that followed in the aftermath of the Honduras elections in November.
In the days following the elections, accounts of state repression "leading to massive and indiscriminate arrests, resulting in limiting the right to peaceful assembly and association" were also mentioned in the U.N. report.
Adding, "the government has implemented other practices to identify and sanction opposition, resulting in house raids, improper searches and the improper use of criminal law to criminalize social protest."
A rally for the freedom of political prisoners in Honduras is happening right now outside the Office of the Public Prosecutor in Tegucigalpa.— Sandra Cuffe (@Sandra_Cuffe) March 19, 2018
Hay un plantón ahorita frente al Ministerio Público en Tegucigalpa para exigir la libertad de los presos políticos en Honduras. pic.twitter.com/wg0YocxeK9
The Solidarity Network has also called for the release of longtime activist, Edwin Espinal, who was jailed on charges related to protests against election fraud in Honduras. "Due to his activism, he has been subject to State harassment, violence, and threats since the 2009 coup d’état," the solidarity network said in a statement.