Honduras: PEN Honduras appeals to Supreme Court in final attempt to halt ban on practising journalism

Journalist and founding member of PEN Honduras, Julio Ernesto Alvarado, appeared yesterday along with other journalists and PEN Honduras members before the Constitutional Section of the Supreme Court of the country in a final attempt to fight the reinstatement of a 16-month ban on practising journalism. This action, known in Spanish as an Amparo, is a remedy for the protection of constitutional rights where all other routes of appeal have been exhausted.

On 9 October 2014, Mr Alvarado’s lawyer submitted an application for the implementation of the ruling to be suspended pending review by the Constitutional Section of the Supreme Court of Justice (la Sala de lo Constitucional de la Corte Suprema de Justicia). Procedure dictates that Mr Alvarado’s lawyer should have received a response to this submission within 24 hours, however, more than a week later she has yet to receive a response.. In addition, she has been informed that the plaintiff’s lawyer has already requested the file to be returned to the court where the case began, suggesting that the judgment is imminently due to be enforced.

Mr Alvarado, director and presenter of Globo TV’s news programme ‘Mi Nación’, was sentenced to a 16-month prison sentence and a work ban of the same length in December 2013 due to his coverage in 2006 of alleged corruption by a university dean. PEN considers Mr Alvarado’s conviction and the work ban imposed on him to be politically motivated and a clear violation of his right to freedom of expression..

On 9 October 2014, Marian Botsford Fraser, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International, wrote to the Honduran Supreme Court of Justice and the National Human Rights Commission to express our deep concern for Mr Alvarado’s case.