Following the 2009 military coup that led to the exile of former Honduran President Manuel Zeyala, PHR led an investigation into the government’s attacks on civilians who were peacefully protesting Zeyala’s removal. During the attacks, the government of interim president Roberto Micheletti physically and psychologically tortured civilians, often leading to injury and death.
At the request of several local human rights organizations, PHR sent a team of forensic experts to Honduras to analyze 14 cases of torture. Our findings showed how the government had used threats and force to suppress dissents following the coup and that police officers had engaged in reckless behavior, disregarding public safety. PHR’s lead investigator submitted the evidence in criminal cases brought by the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights against military personnel and law enforcement officers for alleged torture and ill-treatment; however, a culture of impunity and lack of judicial process prevented the perpetrators from being brought to justice. PHR’s findings are contained in the report “Impunity in Honduras: Torture and Ill-Treatment after the Coup d’Etat.”