Friday, January 25, 2013

Cops Apologize, Honduran Gay Bar Raid Fotos Surface

A victory has been achieved by brave gay democracy leader Erick Vidal Martinez and the courageous LGBT community of Honduras. As I reported previously this week, on January 13 the National Police arrived at the Anubis bar in Tegucigalpa around 1:00 AM and conducted a raid.

After much pressure from gay and straight human rights defenders inside Honduras, and other parts of the world, Erick and the community received an apology and promises for change were made by government and police officials.

Let's get to the photos and then the report. Please add this line when using the images: "Photo Credit: Erick Vidal Martinez". Click the pix to enlarge.

Two uniformed officers of the National Police stood guard outside the Anubis, shortly after the raid started. The officer on the right is resting his arms on a rifle.

Another policeman inside the bar checked the identity cards of the LGBT patrons, wrote the names and additional personal information down on paper, while other officers smashed a few chairs and broke glass furnishings in the bathroom.

Questioning the LGBT patrons was conducted by more officers, seen wearing baseball caps on the left, foreground, and on the right, center. Everyone was made to sit or stand in one area.

After getting all the names, asking questions, causing damage to the furnishings and walls, and deciding who was to be taken into custody down at the National Police station house, everyone was outside.

The cops loaded up the arrestees in the back of a police pick up truck.

Three of the arrestees, moments before the truck drove away to the nearby National Police station house for Tegucigalpa.

Erick shares this message:

I thank everyone for their solidarity and words of concern about me.

Regarding the Anubis raid, Chief of Police Juan Carlos Bonilla along with the Deputy Police Commissioner Ivan Mejia, contacted me and we had a meeting this week. Among the commitments that they made:

1. Giving me personal protection measures (patrols to my house, a person assigned link for me to communicate in an emergency);

2. An objective investigation of the Anubis raid;

3. Determine which officers were responsible for violating our assembly rights during the raid;

4. Take action to ensure implementation of the Human Rights Ombudsman;

5. Develop an agreement with advocates regulating future actions of the police, such as assigning one officer to be liaison between arrestees and human rights groups.

Chief of Police Bonilla expressed apologies on behalf of women and men of the Police, recognizes that it is vital to take actions to restore the image of the institution and treats everyone fairly.

Muchas gracias, to all friends of mine and Honduran LGBTI people from other countries. We receive 53 letters of solidarity from foreigners and together we go forward.

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