REPORT Nº 124/01 CASE 12.387 ALFREDO LÓPEZ ALVAREZ HONDURAS December 3, 2001 I. SUMMARY 1. On December 13, 2000, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereafter “the Commission” or “IACHR”), received a petition submitted by the Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, OFRANEH [“Honduran Black People’s Fraternal Organization”], represented by its president Mrs. Gregoria Flores (hereafter “the Petitioner”], on behalf of Mr. Alfredo López Alvarez, a Honduran citizen of Garífuna descent (hereafter “the victim”), against the Republic of Honduras (hereafter “the Honduran State”, “Honduras”, or “the State”). The petition declares that the victim is a recognized Garífuna leader, a defender of his people’s human rights, that in this context he was arrested on April 27, 1997, and accused of a crime that he did not commit, that he has been held until this date in preventive detention, and that his case is still at the indictment stage. The violations denounced relate to alleged irregularities committed by the justice authorities during the criminal proceedings undertaken against the victim, involving trial for the crime of possession of and trafficking in narcotics, whereby the Honduran State violated the right to due process, to judicial guarantees and to the right of equality before the law, enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights (hereafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”). 2. With respect to admissibility, the Petitioner argues that her petition is admissible, in light of the exceptions to the requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies and the deadline for submitting the petition, as stipulated in Article 46(2)(a) and (b) of the Convention. 3. For its part, the State argues, on the question of admissibility, that Mr. Alfredo López Alvarez was imprisoned for the crime of possessing and trafficking in narcotics, one for which release on bail does not apply, that all guarantees granted by the right of legitimate defense have been observed, and that criminal justice actions available under Honduran domestic legislation are still in process. 4. The Commission considers that the Petitioner’s charges, if proven, could constitute violations by the State of the right to personal liberty (Article 7), the right to a fair trial (Article 8), the right to equality before the law (Article 24), the obligation to respect rights (Article 1(1)) and the right to judicial protection (Article 25), of the Convention, to the prejudice of Alfredo López Alvarez, and after examining the positions of the parties and fulfillment of the requirements stipulated in Articles 46 and 47 of the Convention, it has concluded that it is competent to hear the complaint and to declare the petition admissible. II. PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION 5. On December 13, 2000, the Commission received the petition submitted by the Petitioner against the Honduran state, and on January 11, 2001, it sent the relevant portions of the petition to the State and requested it to transmit any observations with respect to how the complaint should be handled, within 30 days. On March 23, 2001, the Petitioner requested the Commission to order precautionary measures on behalf of the victim, in light of the fact that he had been removed from the Tela Penal Center, and that his whereabouts was unknown at the time of the application. The Commission asked the State to provide information on the application for precautionary measures, on the same date. On March 24, the Commission was advised by the Petitioner, by telephone, that Mr. Alfredo López Alvarez had been transferred to the Cortés Penal Center. On April 11, 2001, the Commission again asked the State to submit observations on the petition, the relevant portions of which were sent to it on January 11, 2001. 1

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