NGO contradicts report about shooting in Honduras

Posted on September 9, 2012


Planet | 06:50 pm
Honduras / AP

A non-governmental organization based in the United States criticized the official investigation Honduras on a fatal shooting during a drug operation after its findings contradicted eyewitness reports and the group’s own research on what happened.

The findings of the investigation, announced Friday, said two victims were not pregnant and that none of the four people killed were hit by shots fired from a helicopter of the security forces involved in narcotics raid in the Mosquitia region. Local residents and activists human rights defenders said that the victims were shot by the police and all the deceased, including two pregnant women, were innocent civilians traveling along a river at night.

Police said the dead people were in a boat from which shots were fired at the helicopter.

“The assertions of the Honduran authorities are simply not credible, when confronted with forensic evidence and witness statements so many to the contrary,” he wrote in an email Dan Beeton, spokesman for the Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington, based in the U.S. capital.

Some agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents accompanied the Honduran National Police during the operation, but the agency said that no member of the U.S. personnel fired shots.

Authorities in the United States and Honduras have refused to provide videos of the shooting on May 11 or the autopsies of the victims, which could resolve disputes over the circumstances. The operation has been highly criticized in Honduras.

German Love, director of the Office of Human Rights in Honduras, said Friday that two victims were pregnant women, as witnesses reported. Beeton said autopsies on the two women were so unprofessional performed 40 days later, outside in the cemetery. He said friends of the victims said they were both pregnant.

Love added that forensic tests showed that the bullets that killed the four people were shot in a horizontal line, not from above. Besides the bullets were used by smaller caliber M-16 rifles and not used in more powerful weapons that are mounted on helicopters, he said.

A previous report Beeton group had a different view on the ballistic: “Reports of deaths, as well as an interview with a Honduran official present at the exhumation and autopsy of the dead, confirmed that all had bullet wounds high caliber. “

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