Dear LGBTTI community and allies:
Erick Vidal Martinez was injured and arrested in a raid executed arbitrarily by the Tegucigalpa Police, lead by El Trigre Bonilla in the early hours of Sunday January 13, 2013. He was beaten and arrested when he attempted to protect the rights of both the LGBTTI establishment owner and patrons, cornered by police. While he was in custody his car was vandalized and robbed and it is believed the police did this.
You may remember Erick from his visit to Los Angeles in Oct 2012, he was a candidate of the new political party Libre for the Department of Morazan. He led a very public, out, campaign in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and internationally.
At this point there is a concern for his life and well being, the charges he faces and the police brutality. We are also concerned that he may be targeted for being a Human Rights worker and also a Libre party member.
Police brutality against LGBTTI people in Honduras is rampant and to date there have been over 82 deaths since the coup d’état which ripped open the nation in 2009.
Stay tuned for further action in following email. Please post and resend this email on your facebook and email list servs!
Messages of solidarity to ERICK:
Statement from Erick about his arrest:
On Sunfay at around 1 am a group of police came to the business that serves the LGBT community located near Curaçao las Lomas. The police there started to raid the business becasue there was an ordinance that states that the place could only be open to 10pm. I agreed to abandon the business but before leaving took some photographs of what was hapenning. there was a policeman with last name Núñez and another person who began to offend me becase I took their picture. I explained that I needed to document the events and I left the location towards Boulevard Morazan to si if this ordinance was being applied to other businesses. When I noticed that this was only happening to the business aforementioned (the one serving the LGBT population) I called 199 and the Public Ministry (District Attorney like, office that takes public issues on their behalf) office serving open at the time. I talked to Luis Chávez, who took my report and recommended I file the same report in the Public Ministry, I told him I would call the owner of the establishment to leave a record, during this entire conversation it took an hour to take a friend to colonia los Hidalgos. When I am able to finally communicate with the owner of the establishment he tells me to come by for a few more photographs that will help to file the report.
To my surprise I find myself with 3 police cars full of people and about 5 more motorized, people were corraled by police agent, I get off the car and begin to take pictures and I ask who is in charge of the operative. and I only got phrases that el tigre Bonilla was responsible but not to look for him because he was not there. I called the public Ministry again and related this to them. When the owner of the establishment called me it was because various police agents had him at the entrance to his establishment. I explain to the police agent present that what they were doing was illegal and arbitrary and that I had notified the public ministry, one police agent threw himself over me and told me I was arrested. I asked to clarify what were my charges? why I was I being arrested? Another policeman took me by the neck choking me and another one took my cell phone. They took me in a police car, I handed my cell to a young woman and they again took it from her.
Once I got to the police station of Manchen, where they took alongside two people, I waited 1/2 hour to see the comissioner or person in charge of the detention, his name, a policeman named Núñez, he gives me back my cell phone and notice they erased all the documentation.
He said I was being charged with article 104, number 10: contempt and lack of autority and that they will detain me. I tried to dialogue with him about the arbitrary occurrences but to no avail.
Seeing that I was arrested I ask that someone take my vehicle since it was left out there, I request that it be left in front of the Secretary of Justice and Human Rights. He authorized I come retrieve it with a policeman in a police car, and to my surprise my vehicle was opened and robbed. I then request that the vehicle not be moved since the incident is not my responsibility.
Currently, I waiting with the police car for more than three hours without any inspection is made. I am detained and I am not sure why the work of defending my community has to have these costs?
I am asking for your support to solved the incident with these people, because aside from holding me against my will, hungry, without sleep and with pain from the accions the took to detain me, using excessive force against my person.
I hold this police accountable, who detained me, for the damages and theft in my vehicle and those losses. My family is here and has given me access to write this email. I cant call because my cell is not charged and I am not able to communicate.
I making a copy to my boss and people that support Human Rights.
Thank you for your attention.
Erick Vidal Martinez Salgado
Coordinador de Proyectos
Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, CIPRODEH
Teléfono (504) 2232-0857 / 2232-3553 / 2232-3572 Telefax (504) 2232-3519
Móvil (504) 9952 – 1180 / 3237 – 7620