Extrajudicial Killing, Crimes against Humanity and Other Human Rights Violations Occurred under Post-Coup Leader’s Authority and Direction
June 23, 2011, Houston – Today, almost two years after the military coup in Honduras, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a complaint in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on behalf of David Murillo and Silvia Mencías, the parents of 19-year-old Isis Obed Murillo who was shot and killed by Honduran military forces during a peaceful demonstration against the military coup d’etat of June 28, 2009. The defendant is Roberto Micheletti Baín, former president of the Honduran National Congress who assumed the role of head of the de facto government immediately following the coup d’état ousting President Zelaya. The complaint details extrajudicial killing, crimes against humanity of murder and persecution, wrongful death and other gross human rights violations that occurred in Honduras under the authority and/or direction of Micheletti.
“I want no more bloodshed,” said Silvia Mencías, mother of the killed teen. “I don’t want any other mothers to suffer the way I have.”
“I was Isis Obed’s friend, teacher and father. We carry our pain like a cross, but Isis Obed’s legacy – the principles with which we raised him – will always be alive in our minds,” said David Murillo, Isis Obed’s father. “In life and in his work with social organizations, he was committed to defending the rights of others.”
On July 5, 2009, President Zelaya attempted to return to Honduras and restore the democratically-elected government. Zelaya intended to fly by airplane to Honduras and land at Toncontin International Airport in the capital of Tegucigalpa. Nineteen-year-old activist Isis Murillo and his family joined thousands of other coup opponents at the airport for a non-violent, peaceful gathering to welcome Zelaya back and support the restoration of the government. When Zelaya’s plane attempted to but was blocked from landing, Isis Murillo was shot in the head by Honduran military and died just moments after.
“The forces of Micheletti’s de facto government killed Isis Murillo as part of the severe crackdown and repression that ensued immediately following the coup,” said Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney Pamela Spees. “Our clients’ son was a casualty of the systemic attacks on fundamental rights under this illegitimate regime.”
Subsequent to Isis’ killing, the plaintiff and his family were subjected to surveillance and harassment by police and other authorities. This harassment took place in the context of what lawyers describe as an intense repression and political persecution that began under Michiletti’s regime that targeted the National Front of Popular Resistance, which formed in opposition to the coup, as well as journalists and other groups standing in opposition.
“How is forgiveness possible if there is no investigation, sanction nor reparation – when there is impunity?” said Bertha Oliva, Director of El Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH), Center for Constitutional Rights’ partner in bringing this complaint. “As family members of people who were forcibly disappeared for political and ideological reasons, we know full well that reconciliation is not reached through forgiveness and forgetting of atrocities. We need truth and justice to move forward.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.