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Honduras To Pay Kin of Kidnapped

February 23, 2000

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) _ The Honduran government announced Wednesday it will pay $2.1 million to the families of 19 of the 184 political activists kidnapped and killed by an army death squad in the 1980s.

Acting on a recommendation by the Organization of American States, the government said similar payments would be offered to the rest of those who ``disappeared″ in connection with the army’s Counterinsurgency Battalion 316.

``This does not close the book on the case of the disappeared,″ said Bertha Oliva, leader of Honduras’ Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared. ``The government has promised to locate those responsible for these crimes, arrest them and bring them to trial.″

To date, charges have been brought against 29 soldiers and army officers. Eight of those suspects have fled justice.

Oliva’s husband, Tomas Nativi, was one of the victims who disappeared after having been detained by police or army troops. His relatives are apparently included in the reparation payments announced Wednesday.

A 1993 government report concluded that the victims _ suspected leftists who disappeared between 1979 and 1989 _ were probably killed while in custody and their remains buried in unmarked graves.

``The government will attend to the claims presented in this case by the other relatives of the disappeared,″ said Presidential Secretary Gustavo Alfaro. The terms of the payments are to be determined in talks at the OAS Inter American Human Rights Commission in Washington D.C.

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