We would like to ask you to show your solidarity with our fellow LGBTQ activists in Honduras and take action to support Erick Vidal Martinez, who has been unlawfully detained and assaulted in Tegucigalpa. Please see below from the Honduras Solidarity Network about how you can do so. You can find out more about Erick's activism here, and about the LGBTQ rights situation in Honduras here (in English) and here (in Spanish).
Thank you for your support from all the team at ALDES.
Honduras Solidarity Network
Take Action: Honduran LBGQT Activist Erick Vidal Martinez Unlawfully Detained and Assaulted
Your action needed further below.
On Sunday January 13th, 2013, Honduran national police arrived at a gay bar around 1 am that is frequented by members of the Sexual Diversity Community in the colonia Loma del Guijarro of Tegucigalpa. Police ordered the bar to close early, well before the legal time limit for bar closings at 2:30am. Erick Martinez left the scene and returned later to document the incident. Erick witnessed and documented several detainees who were subject to police beatings, verbal humiliations, and intimidation because of their sexual orientation. A group of national police assaulted Erick Martinez and seized his cell phone that was documenting the police abuse. Erick and two others were arbitrarily and illegally arrested and taken to the police post in Barrio El Manchen of Tegucigalpa. During this time the contents of Erick’s phone were erased and his car searched and ransacked with items illegally confiscated. Erick was released by 3pm that afternoon thanks to the intervention of a lawyer from the human rights organization Erick works for, CIPRODEH.
The police said that the closing time for the bar was 10, but patrols had passed at 11 and not stopped. The identification of all the officers was covered by jackets, sweaters, and sweatshirts. When Erick left the bar, he cruised the main drag and saw that all the hetero bars were still open. He returned after receiving a phone call that people were being beaten up. He confronted the police and acted very bravely. He spoke in a way demanding the system work, when obviously it doesn't and didn't. He was arrested for interfering with police in the line of duty, and eventually placed in a tank with 63 straight men who taunted him but didn't physically attack him.
Erick Vidal Martinez is a known human rights defender for LBGQTI rights in Honduras, a coordinating member of the Honduran Resistance Movement (FNRP) and an openly gay primary candidate for congress under the LIBRE party. Due to Erick’s work for human rights and the high number of attacks on members of the LBGQTI community in Honduras, Erick’s life is under high risk. Since the 2009 coup in Honduras there has been over 87 hate crimes and assassinations of members of the LBGQTI community and over 300 assassinations of members of the resistance movement.
In October of 2012 Erick Martinez travelled to California to receive a human rights award from the Federation of Gay Games and spoke with hundreds of university students and community members about mass human rights violations and impunity in Honduras. Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) sponsored a letter supporting Erick’s visit as well as a congressional Dear Colleague letter signed by 84 members of congress denouncing the human rights violations committed against members of the LBGQTI community in Honduras.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION! International solidarity can greatly add to Erick’s safety and security. Please write to the U.S Embassy, Honduran National Police Chief, and officials for human rights in Honduras to denounce the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and members of the LBGQTI community. Demand the protection of the life of Erick Vidal Martinez and that the government of Honduras guarantee him protective measures.
Email the following offices and blind CC Erick Martinez.
SAMPLE LETTERS FOLLOW IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH. Spanish preferred for the letters to Honduran officials but English letters also needed.
1. Ministro Seguridad Pompeyo Bonilla, email@example.com
2. Abogado German Enamorado, Fiscalía Derechos Humanos, firstname.lastname@example.org,
3. CONADEH, Dr. Ramón Custodio, email@example.com
4. Ministra Ana Pineda, Secretaria de Justicia y Derechos Humanos, firstname.lastname@example.org , correo de asistente email@example.com.
1. Nathan Anderson, Human Rights and Labor Attaché. U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Benjamin Gedan, Honduras Desk Officer-State Department,, email him at: GedanBN@state.gov. I received the following reply from Mr. Gedan: I will be away from my office from Friday, January 11 to Tuesday, January 22. For urgent Honduras issues, please contact Kelsey Cambronne at 202-647-3505.
3. Jane B. Zimmerman, Western Hemisphere Officer, Human Rights & Labor Bureau, U.S. State Department, Washingtonzimmermanjb@state.gov
Erick Vidal Martinez- email@example.com
My subject line: In support of Erick Martinez
I’m writing to protest the unlawful detention and police assault on Erick Vidal Martinez the early morning of January 13, as well as the harassment and forced early closing of the bar Anubis in which he was present in Tegucigalpa. Erick is gay, and the club is frequented by people from the sexual diversity community.
Erick was held for more than 12 hours, his photos of the police abuse erased, and his car and personal effects ransacked, all for witnessing the humiliating and homophobic behavior of the police and defending the human rights of the bar patrons.
I ask that the Honduran police stop this arbitrary harassment of the LGBT community and that the government of Honduras offer protective measures for Erick so that no further harm comes to him as he works to defend the human rights of all Hondurans.
My subject line: En apoyo a Erick Martinez
Estimado (Estimada for the woman) ____
Le escribo para protestar la detención ilegal y el asalto policial contra Erick Vidal Martínez en la madrugada del 13 de enero, así como el acoso y el obligado cierre temprano del bar Anubis, donde estuvo presente en Tegucigalpa. Erick es gay, y el club es frecuentado por gente de la comunidad de la diversidad sexual.
Erick fué detenido por más de 12 horas, sus fotos de los abusos de la policía borrados de su celular, y su auto saqueado y efectos personales robados, solo por presenciar el comportamiento humillante y homófoba de la policía y por defender los derechos humanos de los clientes del bar.
Pido que la policía hondureña terminen este acoso arbitrario de la comunidad LGTB y que el gobierno de Honduras ofrezca medidas de protección para Erick para que más daño no le viene mientras trabaja para defender los derechos humanos de todos los hondureños.
Second option for letter to US officials:
Dear U.S. State Department Officials,
As an American deeply concerned with human rights and democracy in Honduras, I hereby request that you quickly issue a letter of protest and concern to the Honduran government regarding the January 13 raid on the LGBT bar Anubis in Tegucigalpa, and the unlawful detention and police assault on people present at the time of the raid.
Among the persons arrested and attacked was longtime gay leader and AIDS educator Erick Vidal Martinez.
He was held for more than 12 hours, his photos of the police abuse erased from his cell phone, and his car and personal effects ransacked, all for witnessing the humiliating and homophobic behavior of the police and defending the human rights of the bar patrons to peaceably assemble.
I ask that the U.S. State Department immediately and publicly call upon the Honduran police force to stop this arbitrary harassment of the LGBT community and beseech the government of Honduras to offer protective measures for Erick so that no further harm comes to him as he works to defend the human rights of all Hondurans.
Please acknowledge receipt of this urgent request for action on the day you receive it.