On November 5, 2014 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordered the Honduran state to suspend a 16-month work ban on journalist and PEN Honduras member Julio Ernesto Alvarado, in a landmark ruling brought by PEN Honduras and PEN International.
Under the IACHR’s November 2014 ruling – known as ‘precautionary measures’ – the Honduran state is legally obliged to suspend a December 2013 Honduran Supreme Court sentence against Alvarado and abstain from any action which would inhibit the journalist from practising his profession, pending investigation of his case by the IACHR, on the grounds that the ban violates his right to freedom of expression. The work ban is part of a criminal conviction handed down to Alvarado in 2013 as a result of a protracted defamation law suit brought against him by a public official in 2006.
Unfortunately, more than a year later, the Honduran state has yet to comply with the IACHR’s ruling. Despite commitments made to PEN Honduras and PEN International by the Honduran Attorney General at a meeting at the IAHCR in Washington DC on 21 October 2015 – a meeting that Alvarado himself was prevented from attending – the work ban came into effect on 30 October.
In response, last week Jennifer Clement and Salil Tripathi, President and Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International respectively, wrote to the Attorney General expressing PEN’s extreme concern at Alvarado’s situation and at the message sent by the actions of the Honduran state in his case: a fundamental lack of respect both for the right to freedom of expression and for the IACHR itself, PEN Honduras also issued a statement.
PEN International asks its members worldwide to take action to pressure the Honduran state to respect the IACHR’s ruling and allow Julio Ernesto Alvarado to resume his work as a journalist.
What you can do:
1. Send letters of protest to the Honduran Attorney General (see details below)
2. Write about Julio Ernesto Alvarado’s case in your local and national media
3. Share PEN Honduras’ statement and PEN International’s letter on social media
4. Send messages of solidarity to Julio Ernesto Alvarado (via Tamsin Mitchell; see contact details below)
Please contact PEN International if sending appeals after 10 December 2015. Please send us copies of your letters or information about other activities, and any responses received.
Write to the Honduran Attorney General asking him to:
Abogado Abraham Alvarenga Urbina
Procuradoría General de la República de Hondura
Please send your appeals via your nearest Honduran embassy (contact details)
And send a copy of your appeals to the following: