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Six Honduran Military Men Ordered Arrested for Human Rights Abuses

November 8, 1995

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) _ Six military officers were charged Tuesday with torturing a political dissenter.

Special government prosecutor Sonia Dubon said the accused were members of a secret police and military security unit that in the 1980s persecuted activists suspected of leftist sympathies.

Dubon said there is evidence the six arrested Figueroa Guillen on Aug. 2, 1983, accused him of threatening state security, then tortured and otherwise mistreated him before freeing him 20 days later.

``Figueroa Guillen alleges that his military captors damaged his moral and physical integrity, and through torture denigrated him,″ Dubon said.

The accused are Lt. Col. Juan Blas Salazar Meza, the former chief of the defunct security police; Capts. Dimas Carbajal Gomez and German McnIel Ulloa; and Sgts. Carlos Alfredo Martinez, Jose Marcos Hernandez and Jose Roberto Ortega. Aside from Salazar Meza, the whereabouts of the suspects was not known.

The new charges bring to 16 the number of military men accused of human rights abuses since July, breaking a tradition of immunity from prosecution for members of the armed forces in Honduras.

Last week, a criminal court judge sentenced Salazar Meza to 21 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for skimming 11 pounds of cocaine from a drug bust.

Salazar Meza, who was chief from 1980 to 1985, is the first Honduran officer sentenced on drug charges. He is also among 10 officers accused of the abduction, torture and attempted murder of six university students in 1982.

On Monday, Gen. Alonso Discua, the head of the Honduran armed forces, said those officers would not be handed over because ``the armed forces do not trust the present system of justice.″

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