Murder of Gay Rights Activist Shows Another Crises in Honduras

Well-known Honduran gay activist Walter Trochez was murdered in a drive-by shooting Dec. 14 in Tegucigalpa. He was 27.

Trochez was an active member of the resistance front against June's coup d'état and, on Dec. 4, had been kidnapped, beaten, interrogated about the resistance, threatened with death, and told to cease his activism.

In his complaint to human rights groups, Tróchez said his kidnappers whizzed past police road blocks unfettered, suggesting the vehicle was an unmarked police car.
"Walter was afraid,'' said Reina Rivera, director of the Center for the Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights (CIPRODEH). "He was a leader in the Resistance, but we thought he was in a precarious situation because he was also HIV-positive and gay in a patriarchal, machista and homophobic society.''

Human rights advocates say up to 18 gay and transgender men have been killed nationwide - as many as the five prior years - in the nearly six months since a political crisis rocked the nation. Activists say the spike illustrates a breakdown in the rule of law in a country already known for hate crimes.

The Human Rights Watch report suggests authorities are responsible for much of the violence. The report quoted several transgender sex workers saying they had been raped and even stabbed by police officers who demanded sexual favors.

The report cites an ambiguous Honduran law that allows police to pick up people for "immoral behavior'' as a root of the problem.

Tróchez had recently published an article titled "Increase in hate crimes and homophobia toward LGTB as a result of the civic-religious-military coup in Honduras."

Source: The Miami Herald

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