Military Commanders Acquitted

The Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), today found in favor of the commanders of the Armed Forces of Honduras in relation to their actions on June 28, 2009.

The leaders in question were Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, head of the Joint Chiefs; Cervantes Venancio, Deputy Chief; Javier Prince, Commander of the Air Force; Miguel Angel Padgeth, Commander of the Army; and Juan Pablo Rodriguez, Commander of the Navy. They were accused of coordinating improper actions in the capture and extradition to Costa Rica of Mr. Manuel Zelaya Rosales on June 28, 2009.

Senior military leaders in their response to the charges brought against them, said they made the decision to bring Zelaya out of the country of Honduras, and to the country of Costa Rica for homeland security reasons, as the social situation had become dangerous.

Juan Carlos Sanchez, one of the lawyers defending the military leaders revealed that on June 28th there were about 950 armed foreign nationals in the country, who posed a threat to the security of the nation.

It was “the prevailing rule of necessity,” said Juan Carlos Sanchez. “There is evidence that if Zelaya remained in the country, it would had provoked the bloodshed of many of our countrymen”.

The initial hearing took place on January 21st, and the judges adjourned at midnight with the evidence. The judges spent until today analyzing the documentation.

The prosecution had argued that there was no need to remove the former president because the Armed Forces had the equipment and personnel necessary to avoid any threat to the country.

Colonel Ramiro Archaga, the Armed Forces spokesman, said that “justice was done”. He believed the judges of the CSJ considered all arguments relating to the case.

Outside the court, Civic Democratic Union (UCD) members were gathered with banners in favor of the military leadership.

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