TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — After years of hypothesis in Honduras, america formally requested the arrest and extradition of former President Juan Orlando Hernández lower than three weeks after he left workplace.
Honduran safety forces surrounded Hernández’s neighborhood Monday evening and the Supreme Court docket of Justice scheduled an pressing assembly Tuesday morning to pick a decide to deal with the extradition request. A standoff ensued.
In a video launched by Hernández’s authorized group from apparently inside his dwelling, lawyer Félix Ávila stated that every part must wait till the Supreme Court docket designated a decide Tuesday to think about the case. “In the meantime, it’s understood that no arrest order exists.”
Nonetheless, at a police barrier to the neighborhood, Rasel Tomé, vp of the newly elected Nationwide Congress, stated that Hernández needed to flip himself in or he can be captured at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Shortly earlier than that deadline, Hernández launched an audio recording through Twitter early Tuesday thanking these praying for him.
“It’s not a straightforward second,” he stated. “I do not want it for anybody.”
He stated the Nationwide Police had already been knowledgeable by his legal professionals that “I’m prepared and ready to cooperate and go voluntarily with their accompaniment within the second the decide designated by the honorable Supreme Court docket of Justice decides it, to capable of face this example and defend myself.”
It was a long-awaited fall for a pacesetter reviled in his dwelling nation, who loved help from the Trump administration, however had been stored at arm’s size by a Biden White Home concentrating on Central America’s endemic corruption as a root reason behind migration.
The precise prices Hernández’s faces will not be recognized, however federal prosecutors in New York had beforehand named him a co-conspirator in a drug trafficking case, alleging that his political rise was fueled with drug income. Hernández has lengthy denied any wrongdoing.
Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Division of Justice, declined to remark.
Hernández left workplace Jan. 27 with the swearing in of President Xiomara Castro. The identical day he was sworn in as Honduras’ consultant to the Central American Parliament.
His lawyer, Hermes Ramírez, advised native media his shopper had immunity as a member of the regional parliament and stated authorities forces weren’t following correct procedures. He stated Hernández was inside the house.
Numerous contingents of the Nationwide Police, together with particular forces, in addition to army police have been current round Hernández’s neighborhood Monday evening. Limitations at the entire entrances stored out media and even residents.
Members of the safety forces entered the world with weapons, sporting balaclavas and with handcuffs dangling from their ballistic vests. Some neighbors stated the home had been darkish they usually imagine unoccupied.
Hernández typically pointed to the truth that Honduras started permitting the extradition of Hondurans on drug trafficking prices whereas he was president of the congress as a part of his protection.
However U.S. prosecutors have alleged that he was taking bribes from drug traffickers on the promise of defending them as soon as he was Honduras’ president.
U.S. prosecutors in New York repeatedly implicated him in his brother’s 2019 drug trafficking trial, alleging that his political rise was fueled by drug income.
That brother, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, himself a former Honduran congressman, was sentenced to life in jail on drug and weapons prices in March 2021. At his sentencing Assistant U.S. Legal professional Matthew Laroche characterised the crimes as “state-sponsored drug trafficking.”
Juan Orlando Hernández took workplace Jan. 27, 2014. Hernández used a pleasant Supreme Court docket to beat Honduras’ constitutional ban on reelection and gained a second time period in 2017 in elections marred by irregularities.
Round midnight Monday, 56-year-old Jorge Arturo Vega, a supporter of Castro’s Liberty and Refoundation celebration, stood outdoors a police barricade at Hernández’s neighborhood celebrating.
“It is a celebration we’ve been ready a very long time for,” Vega stated, pondering again over the dozen years since Hernández got here up within the congress. “We couldn’t stand this his drug trafficker, felony, killer within the presidential home any longer.”
Christopher Sherman reported from Mexico Metropolis. Elmer Martínez in Tegucigalpa, and Claudia Torrens in New York, contributed to this story.