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Honduras – Police fail to respond to attempted killing of LGBTI human rights defender Donny Reyes because they have no petrol
LGBTI human rights defender Donny Reyes describes what happened when a lone gun man tried to kill him on his way to work. "On 5 July I was leaving my home in Tegucigalpa when I spotted a man on a motor cycle on the corner who was obviously watching the house. He was about 150 netres away. This wasnt the first time I have been tracked like this so I spotted him straight away and tried to act normally.
I got into the car but as I was pulling out into the traffic I saw that he was following me and trying to catch up. I swung out into the traffic and took a sharp right – not taking the normal route.
This gave me a bit of space and I managed to double back to the house and laid low for an hour or so. Later I looked out, the coast appeared to be clear and I decided to head off to work which is quite close by – I just had to drive down the street and cross over a small bridge.
All the time I was watching in the wing and rear view mirrors but just as I was coming up to the bridge I spotted the motor cycle pulling up beside me on the passenger side and I saw him pulling out the gun and starting to take aim.
I began to think that this time they would get me but at the same time I started to think to myself – if he pulls up beside me again I will drive the car at him. I accelerated and managed to pull ahead.
He starts to catch up again and this time he starts pulling up alongside me on drivers side still with the gun out and laughing like a maniac. All this time I am pulling up over the bridge and just at that point a huge lorry was coming in the opposite direction and the gunman had to drop back.
Just as I come over the bridge I remember that there is a small local police station a couple of blocks away and I try to get there as quickly as possible hoping there will be someone on duty. A block away from the police station the gunman obviously realises where I'm headed and he drops back completely and heads off in another direction.
I have a friend who works for Colectivo Violeta and he helped me to get in touch with a lawyer in CIPRODEH and we made an official complaint to the police so that they would come and escort me to a safe place. In theory I have been granted Precautionary Measures at the request of the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights but still we couldn't get the Human Rights Unit of the National Security Agency to do anything.
Eventually the people in CIPRODEH sent a car and brought me back to their offices where we finally managed to contact a lawyer in the National Sate Security Agency and we set up a meeting for 10.00am the next day in the Prosecutor's office and they said they would invite the Head of the National Police to attend.
At 09.30 the next morning the lawyer's assistant rings CIPRODEH and informs them that the Human Rights Unit of the National Security Agency cannot come to the meeting because they dont have any petrol for their official cars.
CIPRODEH offer to pay for the petrol by the Human Rights Unit say they couldn't accept that for ethical reasons.
Subsequently, ie 5 days later, the Under Secretary of State wrote saying how unhappy she was about what had happened.
These are her exact words.
'Firstly I want to tell how how sorry I am for this impasse which developed and which absolutely should never be allowed to happen again. I was out of the country at the time and was not notified of the problem which was caused by the fact that the garage which supplies petrol to the National Security Agency refused to give any more petrol because they had not been paid, a problem which is being resolved at this moment. However I acknowledge that this is not a valid reason for failing to deal with such a serious issue.
I believe that your case was not adequately dealt with by the staff in my office and I have in the past left instructions that in these situations they can use the car which has been assigned for my personal use. We are taking all necessary steps to remedy this situation and I urge you to contact this office to reschedule the meeting as soon as possible.
My deepest apologies for what happened, and we will take steps to ensure it will never happen again'"