Ex-Honduras president arrested after US request
Authorities arrested former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández following a request from U.S. officials, The Associated Press reported.
Police arrested Hernández at his residence on Tuesday, with shackles placed on his wrists and ankles, and he escorted out while wearing a bulletproof vest.
Hernández then got into a police vehicle as a police helicopter waiting nearby took flight and escorted the caravan, according to the AP.
In a statement, Supreme Court of Justice spokesperson Melvin Duarte said the court has assigned a judge to handle Hernández’s case with the appointed judge signing an order for his arrest.
This comes as Hernández is expected to face charges of drug trafficking, using weapons for drug trafficking, and conspiracy to use weapons in drug trafficking in the case.
Honduran Security Minister Ramón Sabillón alleged that the former president had conspired “with cartels to traffic (drugs) and corrupt many public institutions, which led to social deterioration and undermined the application of justice in Honduras,” the AP reported.
Hernández’s brother, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, was sentenced to life imprisonment in March 2021 on drug and weapons charges.
A dozen of U.S. lawmakers supported a bill that sought to impose sanctions on Hernández and prohibit the export of tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets Honduran authorities used against protesters in the hope to isolate him.
“Throughout the past eight years of decay, depravity, and impunity, successive U.S. administrations sullied our reputation by treating Hernandez as a friend and partner,” Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT.) said in a statement.
“By making excuse after excuse for a government that had no legitimacy and that functioned as a criminal enterprise, U.S. officials lost sight of what we stand for and that our real partners are the Honduran people.”
Hernández, who took office in 2014, left office last month for the swearing-in of President Xiomara Castro, the AP noted.