Honduras high court rejects house arrest for ex-president

Honduras’ Supreme Court of Justice has denied the appeal of former President Juan Orlando Hernández to be held under house arrest during his extradition process

APTOPIX Honduras Corruption
APTOPIX Honduras Corruption

Honduras' Supreme Court of Justice on Thursday denied the appeal of former President Juan Orlando Hernández to be held under house arrest during his extradition process.

Hernández was arrested Feb. 15 at the request of U.S. authorities. He faces charges of drug trafficking, using weapons for drug trafficking and conspiracy to use weapons in drug trafficking.

A judge ruled on Feb. 16 that Hernández be held at a National Police special forces base in the capital pending the outcome of the extradition process.

The judge handling his case denied his attorneys’ request for house arrest last week and scheduled a court session March 16 to hear evidence supporting the U.S. charges.

But his attorneys appealed and Thursday the full Supreme Court of Justice convened.

Unlike last week, when Hernández supporters and opponents gathered outside the court, on Thursday the justices met remotely to consider the appeal.

U.S. prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have accused Hernández in recent years of funding his political rise with profits from drug traffickers in exchange for protecting their shipments.

Hernández has vehemently denied the accusations. He has said drug traffickers he helped capture and extradite are seeking revenge by making up stories.

Hernández’s two-term presidency ended Jan. 27 with the swearing in of President Xiomara Castro. Hernández became a representative of Honduras in the Central American Parliament.

Last week, police surrounded Hernández’s home a day before his arrest. Once the judge issue an arrest warrant, Hernández was taken into custody, shackled at the wrists and ankles and paraded in front of cameras.

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