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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Two Honduran Generals Detained Upon Return from Testifying in Favor of Ex-President Hernández

Two active-duty Honduran generals who testified in favor of former President Juan Orlando Hernández in a New York trial, where he was found guilty of drug trafficking, were arrested on Thursday upon returning to their country, but were released on bail, the government reported.

A military court had ordered the arrest of generals Willy Oseguera and Tulio Romero Palacios on March 13 for violating military regulations by leaving Honduras without seeking permission from the army.

“Captured […] generals Willy Oseguera and Tulio Romero Palacios” when they returned from the United States on a commercial flight, Security Minister Gustavo Sánchez wrote on the social network X.

Sánchez indicated that the generals were detained at Palmerola International Airport, which serves Tegucigalpa, 50 km north of the capital.

Both were transferred to the headquarters of the Directorate of Investigative Police “and then they will be referred to the Military Instance Court,” the minister added.

“The deposit bail has already been presented, they already have the provisional release letter” and “in this way the process will continue,” defense attorney Fernando González told reporters after the generals left the court. He added that the bail was “symbolic,” amounting to 1,800 lempiras (about $73).

The two generals appeared in early March before the Southern District Court of New York, where they testified in favor of Hernández, who governed Honduras between 2014 and 2022, and was found guilty of three drug trafficking offenses on March 8.

The former president was extradited to the United States on April 21, 2022, three months after leaving office. On June 26, the New York court is set to hand down Hernández’s sentence, which could be life imprisonment.

The U.S. prosecution succeeded in getting the jury to declare the former president guilty after presenting a dozen witnesses, most of them drug traffickers who are serving or have served sentences and who will receive a reduction in their sentences in exchange.

For its part, the defense presented Oseguera, Romero, and another retired general, René Barrientos, as witnesses.

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