Case History: Miriam Miranda Chamorro
On 28 March 2011, Miriam Miranda Chamorro was arrested while attending a peaceful protest in solidarity with the situation of striking teachers in Honduras.
Miriam Miranda Chamorro is the President of the Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña – OFRANEH an organisation which has worked since 1978 for the promotion of the Afro-Carribean Garífuna community's capacity for self-determination through programmes which support their political, social, economic and cultural advancement.
On 28 March 2011, human rights defender Ms Miriam Miranda Chamorro was detained for ten and a half hours by authorities in the municipality of Tela, Honduras.
At 7.30am, Miriam Miranda Chamorro was arrested while attending a peaceful protest in solidarity with the situation of striking teachers in Honduras. It is reported that Miriam Miranda Chamorro was the only person detained from within a large group of protesters, pointing to the selective nature of her arrest. During her arrest, a number of tear-gas cannisters were reportedly fired directly at Miriam Miranda Chamorro, striking her in the stomach and causing her serious injuries. She was subsequently dragged along the ground, beaten and subjected to racially-charged insults by police. She was then taken directly to police station in the municipality of Tela, where it is reported that she was held in detention for some two and a half hours before being read her rights. Four hours after her arrest, she received medical treatment for burns on her stomach, pulmonary spasms as well as blows sustained all over her body during her arrest.
Miriam Miranda Chamorro was 'provisionally' released in the evening of 28 March. However, she now faces charges of sedition and blocking the public rights of way. The former charge carries the possibility of 10 to 15 years imprisonment.
Front Line, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and Urgent Action Fund Latin America (UAF-LA) are concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Miriam Miranda Chamorro and believes that her detention, ill-treatment and charges against her are directly related to her legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights. These acts, reflect a pattern of constant harassment against human rights defenders in Honduras since the coup d'etat of 28 June 2009, and particularly in the last two weeks.