National Lawyers Guild Calls for the US to Disavow the Legitimacy of Elections in Honduras

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Paige Cram, Communications Coordinator, communications@nlg.org, 212-679-5100
Susan Scott, Co-Chair, NLG International Committee 415 669-1745 or syscott@prodigy.net

National Lawyers Guild Calls for the US to Disavow the Legitimacy of Elections in Honduras

NEW YORK - The
National Lawyers Guild calls on President Obama and the U.S. Department
of State not to recognize the elections in Honduras, which was
conducted under the control of an illegitimate coup government.

In
the week leading up to Sunday's elections, several NLG members went to
Honduras to document conditions there. Tanya Brannan and Kevin Breslin
reported numerous repressive measures taken by military and police
under command of the Coup government. "While CNN reports a 70% turnout
at the elections, even the official Honduran electoral agency admits a
mere 1.7 million Honduran voted yesterday," said Brannan. "So even by
the government's own admission, some 70% of Hondurans voted not to
legitimize the military coup. Can our government do any less?"

Yesterday,
member Tanya Brannan stood outside the U.S. Embassy in Honduras in
protest of the U.S. government's apparent support of the election. The
demonstration drew substantial attention from the Honduran national
police, including their elite riot squad, the Cobras, who came out in
force. As one bystander observed, "The U.S. government has brought out
their helicopters and Honduran riot police to repress a handful of
their own citizens trying to exercise their right to free speech. What
are they afraid of?"

The National Lawyers Guild has been
monitoring the situation in Honduras since the military removed the
duly elected president, Manuel Zelaya, on June 28. A climate of fear,
intimidation and the suppression of the most basic rights of free
association and speech has resulted in the closure of media outlets
that are opposed to the coup. There has been widespread militarization,
along with assassination, detention, threats, rape, surveillance and
harassment of the leadership and supporters of the coup resistance.

Having
analyzed the legal and constitutional issues involved and sending
delegations to Honduras, the NLG has verified that the election of
November 29, 2009 were not free, fair or transparent, and the United
States government should join the international community in refusing
to recognize its legitimacy. It should speak out forcefully against the
coup, close down all U.S. military operations in Honduras, and block
all U.S. aid and trade that benefits the illegal coup and its
supporters.

In August, the NLG sent a joint delegation to
Honduras with the Association of American Jurists and International
Association of Democratic Lawyers to meet with members of the Honduran
Supreme Court and other government officials supporting the coup and
leaders of the coup resistance and social movements. Their preliminary
report, including an analysis of the constitutional issues, is
available on the website of the NLG International Committee:
 http://www.nlginternational.org/com/main.php?cid=1.

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The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees--the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.

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