HomeNewsBriefHonduras Struggles to Prosecute Suspects
BRIEF

Honduras Struggles to Prosecute Suspects

HONDURAS / 31 OCT 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A recent report from Honduras revealed how alleged criminals are arrested and released numerous times without ever going to trial, indicating the pressing need for judicial reform in one of the most violent countries in the world.

Alleged gang members and criminals in Honduras are repeatedly getting caught and released by authorities, as prosecutors consistently fail to produce enough evidence to press charges, reported La Tribuna

In one example, an alleged member of street gang the Barrio 18, Joaquin Ernesto Garcia Orellana, alias "El Topo," has 17 arrest warrants on record, ranging from car theft to homicide charges, according to La Tribuna. He was arrested in January after he was caught driving a stolen vehicle while wearing a police vest, but was released due to lack of evidence. He was most recently detained by police in August.

The Honduran newspaper also described a case involving a woman with 10 arrest warrants to her name who has been detained at least three times, but never formally prosecuted; there is also the case of an alleged Barrio 18 member who was accused of involvement in the assassination of the son of a top police official, but despite being arrested was never charged with any crime. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The cases highlighted by La Tribuna point to a difficult security dilemma common throughout much of Latin America. On the one hand, Honduran prisons have swelled far beyond capacity thanks to the widespread use of pre-trial detention and the government's hardline "Mano Dura" (Iron Fist) approach to crime. According to the country's Secretariat for Human Rights, less than half of the Honduras' 16,000 prisoners have been convicted of a crime.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles

But the situation described by La Tribuna's report, recurring cases of repeat offenders who are arrested -- but never prosecuted -- is another problem. As one of the poorest countries in Latin America, Honduras cannot easily allocate more government resources to prosecutors and overwhelmed court systems, but without some kind of judicial reform the country's security situation is unlikely to improve.

Other countries in Latin America face similar security issues. In Colombia only 15 percent of those arrested end up incarcerated, yet endemic overcrowding has recently led to hunger strikes in the country's prisons. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BRAZIL / 24 MAY 2021

Of the nearly 140 reporters killed in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Honduras during the past decade, about half covered organized…

BRAZIL / 16 MAR 2022

Rocco Morabito’s story has all the makings of a great film script. The Italian mob, tons of cocaine, exotic destinations,…

ECUADOR / 10 MAY 2022

Ecuador has seen its sixth large-scale prison massacre since the start of 2021, with at least 44 prisoners being killed…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…