Congress to Discuss Amnesty

The National Congress will meet today to discuss the general amnesty bill that seeks to end the political crisis and initiate a national reconciliation process.

Members of a special committee addressing the issue announced that the project will be presented to Congress members at a meeting this afternoon, and probably be referred to an opinion committee, which will submit its report on the last session held this week.

In these last sessions before the close of the fourth and final term, the legislature will discuss three items. According to its president, Jose Alfredo Saavedra, those items will be amnesty, membership in Alba (Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America), and a toll collection in Tegucigalpa.

The issue that has attracted the most attention is the granting of amnesty. It is thought to be the “epilogue” to the political crisis resulting from the ousting of former President Zelaya. Zelaya would have the option of leaving or staying in the Brazilian embassy after the approval amnesty, according to the president-elect, Porfirio Lobo Sosa. Mr. Sosa was the one who introduced the issue to Congress. Civil society representatives were called on Friday to submit an opinion.

The head of the National Party caucus in Congress, Rodolfo Irias Navas, believes the amnesty decree will be approved. “Amnesty will undoubtedly benefit all. Some people think that it is focused on certain sectors, and this is totally false. Here all the people involved in the activities of June 28th will benefit,” he said.

The Nationalist politician said certain acts have nothing to do with the amnesty bill, so there should be no concern that those crimes go unpunished. “I reject that amnesty is impunity. This bill has been so well-developed that the draft decree clearly defines what crimes are covered,” he said.

Those include, amongst others, crimes of treason against the government, terrorism, sedition, demonstrations, and violent crimes committed by officials, such as abuse of authority. Furthermore, the expatriation of Zelaya by the military that captured him on June 28th last year.

Irias Navas read part of the decree that says, “falling under this decree are all actions which constitute crimes related to corruption, misappropriation of public funds, illicit enrichment, and others”.

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