April 20, 2016
After years of fearlessly calling for the elimination of corrupt officers from the police force, AJS’s Omar Rivera now has a chance to lead the process. Honduras’ President Juan Orlando Hernandez has appointed him to a commission charged with purging the National Police.
In AJS’s fight for peaceful streets, the role of honest and trustworthy police is key. Due to corrupt hiring and management practices, however, some officers threaten, extort, and even kill the very people they are supposed to help. A recently-leaked video showed that the heads of the National Police were paid to carry out the murders of two important lawyers in the Attorney General’s Anti-Drug Trafficking Office. The news has shaken Honduras. For only $20,000, 30 high-ranking police officers were willing to kill. In the years since the murder, they have faced no consequences, and many still hold their positions.
In response to the events, Congress has passed a new law declaring an “emergency situation”, and laying out plans to rid the police force of its bad apples. To lead these important actions, President Hernandez chose Omar Rivera, plus a former Supreme Court Justice, and Alberto Solórzano, the head of the Coalition of Evangelical Churches, who is also an AJS-Honduras board member.
In his new position, Omar will advocate for comprehensive investigations and prosecutions of police officers who have abused their position.
“This is the time for change, the precise moment of transformation,” Omar told journalists. “It’s now or never. All sectors are in tune. We cannot fail and we cannot fail Honduras.”