The United States government requested this Monday to Honduras the extradition of former President Juan Orlando Hernández, designated by the justice of that country for drug trafficking.
The news was confirmed by the Honduran Vice President, Salvador Nasralla, to the AP news agency.
Previously, the Honduran Foreign Ministry had said on Twitter that it had notified the country’s Supreme Court of Justice that the United States Embassy had formally requested the arrest of a Honduran politician for extradition purposes.
The Ministry did not identify the politician, but several media outlets, including CNN, confirmed that it was the former president, who ruled the country between 2014 and 2022.
The The Supreme Court called an emergency session on Tuesday to appoint a judge to analyze the request..
Local television images showed a police cordon and numerous people celebrating near Hernández’s residence in the capital, Tegucigalpa, on Monday night.
“(I want) to make clear the outrage that my client Juan Orlando Hernández is facing,” lawyer Hermes Ramírez told a local television station, in relation to the presence of uniformed officers near the residence.
Ramírez said that the former president was at his residence and clarified, in a video broadcast on social networks together with also a lawyer Félix Ávila, that there is still no arrest warrant against his client.
Hernández has previously denied the accusations against him and assures that during his government he fought drug trafficking.
Last week, U.S announced that he had sanctioned the former president ban you from entering the country.
John Orlando Hernandez joined toCentral American Parliament (Parlacen) after leaving the presidency, which, according to his lawyer, guarantees him immunity.
Parlacen grants its members immunity from prosecution in Central America, although that protection can be removed or suspended if requested by a member’s home country.
a controversial figure
Hernandez ruled Honduras for eight yearsalthough the country’s Constitution does not allow presidential re-election.
However, a failure of The Supreme Court, with an official majority, authorized him to stand for a second termin 2017.
That choice was not without controversy. After the vote counting system stopped working, Hernandez began to gain an advantage in the voting and was declared the winner, prompting massive protests that left several dead.
Although the US government recognized its victory, US prosecutors later revealed that they had opened an investigation into President Hernández, whom they pointed out as a co-conspirator in the trial of his brotherwho was sentenced to life in prison in 2021.
One of the witnesses in the case was a former accountant of a Honduran rice factory who said he had seen how the current president received briefcases with drug money, with which he sought to associate with a cocaine laboratory and spoke quietly about “the protection and transfer of drugs”.
When in the trial of his brother and that of the Honduran Geovanny Fuentes, testimonies emerged that compromised him, the then president rejected them as coming from criminals who wanted revenge for their actions against drug trafficking and reduce their own sentences in the US.
“Any narrative about the battle against drug trafficking in Honduras that omits the unprecedented 95% reduction (official US data) that we achieved, is generally just a vehicle for dramatic headlines to promote the false testimony of the drug traffickers we defeated,” he tweeted. Hernandez at the time.
Since taking office in 2014, the former Honduran president, known by his initials JOH, has sought to portray himself as a Washington’s ally on security and migration issues.
For years, the US backed the Honduran president despite accusations of government corruption and human rights abuses by security forces.
During the Trump administration, Washington sent millions of dollars in aid to Honduras.
After his controversial re-election, Hernández decided not to renew in 2020 the mandate of the Support Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras, an organization created with the support of the US and the Organization of American States (OAS) that investigated dozens of Honduran government officials.
However, Hernández’s relations with Washington began to cool down with the arrival at the White House of Democrat Joe Biden, who has promoted an agenda to combat corruption in Central America.
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