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Zelaya: “Abuse of Power” Charges, A “Trick” – Commanders Should Be Charged With Treason, Murder and Human Rights Violations

January 7, 2010

Zelaya: Charges Against Army Officers ‘a Trick’

Published: January 7, 2010

Filed at 3:33 p.m. ET

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said Thursday that charging military commanders with abuse of power is ”a trick” to avoid punishing them for the June 28 coup.

Zelaya said the nation’s top prosecutor is trying to avoid bringing to justice the army officers who rousted him out of his home at gunpoint and other officials who planned and ordered his ouster from the presidency.

”It’s a trick from prosecutors to charge the army officers with a minor crime instead of with the grave crimes they committed,” Zelaya said in a statement.

He said they should be charged with treason, murder and human rights violations.

Honduras’ chief prosecutor Luis Alberto Rubi on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to issue arrest warrants charging all six members of the Joint Chief of Staff with abuse of power for sending Zelaya out of the country — but not for removing him from office. The charge carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Defenders of Zelaya’s ouster argue that he violated the country’s constitution, meriting removal from office, and say that the army’s move to arrest him was legally backed by the Congress and the Supreme Court. But they have often acknowledged that it was also a violation of the constitution for the military to send him out of the country.

The court has yet to decide whether to grant Rubi’s request.

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