Honduras top court OKs ex-President Hernandez’s extradition to US | Courts News

Juan Orlando Hernandez is needed in the US on drug trafficking and firearms prices, which he has denied.

The highest courtroom in Honduras has backed the extradition of former President Juan Orlando Hernandez to the US, the place he’s needed on drug trafficking and firearms prices.

The Honduras Supreme Court docket on Monday rejected an attraction by Hernandez, 53, following a choose’s March 16 resolution to just accept a US extradition request, stated judiciary spokesman Melvin Duarte.

Hernandez, who held workplace from 2014 to 2022 and has denied all the fees towards him, may face a life sentence if convicted.

On Monday, Felix Avila, one in every of Hernandez’s attorneys, stated “this can be a resolution by the Supreme Court docket and the truth that we don’t agree with it doesn’t imply it’s unlawful”.

US authorities have accused Hernandez, who was arrested in Honduras in mid-February following an extradition request by the Court docket of the Southern District of New York, of collaborating in a drug-trafficking scheme.

They are saying Hernandez, who was changed by the nation’s first-ever feminine president, Xiomara Castro, in late January, facilitated the smuggling of some 500 tonnes of medicine – primarily from Colombia and Venezuela – to the US through Honduras since 2004.

Supporters of Guatemala's president
Hernandez has maintained his innocence, saying he’s the sufferer of ‘revenge and conspiracy’ [File: Elmer Martinez/AP]

US prosecutors have alleged he acquired thousands and thousands of {dollars} from drug traffickers for defense, together with from Mexican narco-kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

He faces three prices: conspiracy to import a managed substance into the US; utilizing or carrying firearms together with machine weapons; and conspiracy to make use of or carry firearms.

On the primary cost, the Supreme Court docket’s 15 magistrates voted unanimously in favour of extradition. For the 2 firearms-related prices, the vote was 13 for and two towards.

A lot of the allegations towards Hernandez emerged in two trials in New York — these of Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez, the president’s brother and himself a former Honduran congressman, and Geovanny Fuentes Ramirez.

Each males had been a part of a sprawling drug trafficking case filed in 2015 and each got life sentences. Prosecutors labelled Hernandez a “co-conspirator” in the identical case.

The crux of prosecutors’ accusations is that Hernandez used bribes and assist from drug traffickers to gasoline his political rise from a congressman representing rural Lempira in western Honduras to president of the Nationwide Congress after which two consecutive presidential phrases.

In alternate, traffickers allegedly had been allowed to function unencumbered, acquired info that helped them keep away from authorities and typically even had safety forces of their service.

Hernandez has been in custody since mid-February when he was arrested after a dramatic stakeout that noticed him holed up in his dwelling surrounded by police. He emerged hours later, pledging to cooperate with authorities.

In a letter revealed on Monday, Hernandez maintained that he’s harmless and stated he’s the “sufferer of revenge and conspiracy”.

Hernandez claims that drug traffickers he helped extradite to the US have tried to get again at him by implicating him within the commerce. “Three life sentences may make me a dwelling lifeless,” stated Hernandez, who admitted it was “painful” to be separated from his family members.

His spouse Ana Garcia, a lawyer, joined a bunch of a couple of dozen protesters exterior the courthouse in Tegucigalpa proclaiming his innocence.

“If a citizen is tried, they need to be tried in our nation,” stated Garcia.

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