AJS Condemns Assassination Attempt against AJS-Honduras Board Member Jorge Machado that Resulted in Death of Bodyguard
December 16, 2016
The Association for a More Just Society (AJS) condemns the attack on Thursday evening against Pastor Jorge Machado, member of the board of directors of AJS-Honduras, executive director of the Evangelical Fellowship of churches in Honduras, and member of the Special Commission for Police Purging.
Unknown individuals opened fire on Machado and his wife as they arrived at their home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, severely wounding two of the military police officers who had been assigned to protect them. Officer Geovany Rolando Calderón died of his wounds as he was transported to the hospital. Ricardo Chavarría Mendoza, who was shot four times, remains in critical condition.
This attack comes after many threats against the Special Commission. In the seven months since they were named by President Juan Orlando Hernández, the Special Commission has fired 2,070 members of the National Police as part of a complete transformation and restructuring of the institution. The majority of these were high-ranking officers, including six of the nine police generals.
“We do not doubt that this attempt is the result of the work we have been carrying out,” said Pastor Alberto Solórzano, member of the Police Purging Commission.
Nonetheless, the Commission confirms that this attempt will only increase their dedication to the process of reforming the police. “To those who intended to frighten us: you will not intimidate us,” said Commission member and AJS director of advocacy Omar Rivera, “Honduras deserves an honest and capable National Police. This process will not be stopped – there is no point of return.”
In response to this despicable attack, AJS declares the following:
- We condemn this cowardly act directed against Jorge Machado, which resulted in the death of Officer Geovany Rolando Calderón, and the severe injury of Ricardo Mendoza Chavarría
- We mourn the death of agent Calderón who gave his life in the line of duty, and the irreplaceable loss which his family suffered; we also hope for a prompt and full recovery for agent Chavarría
- We continue our commitment to work for a more just Honduras in which systems such as the National Police function in defense of the most vulnerable. Rather than being intimidated by these cowardly acts, we redouble our efforts to promote a transformed and trustworthy Honduran police force
- We call on Honduran authorities to investigate this case, to arrest both the intellectual and material authors of this crime, and to obtain convictions
- We call on the Special Commission, now more than ever, to continue their brave and difficult task
- We call on our colleagues and partners, both national and international, to demand justice in this case, protection for human rights defenders, and support for the essential and ongoing work of police reform in Honduras
Association for a More Just Society (AJS-US)