Friday, 23 October 2009

Brazil denounces 'torture' of its embassy in Honduras

October 22nd, 2009. DPA.

Washington, Oct 22 (DPA) Brazil Wednesday at the Organisation of American States (OAS) denounced the "situation of torture" that the de facto government in Honduras is imposing on the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.

The building has become the centre of the political crisis in Honduras after ousted President Manuel Zelaya returned to his country and took refuge in the embassy, months after a June coup.

"Brazil asks the international community to condemn these actions unequivocally and forcefully and reserves for itself the right to launch before the relevant international organs initiatives to punish those responsible," said Brazil's Ambassador to the OAS Ruy Casaes.

Before the OAS Permanent Council, Casaes stressed that measures against the building constitute "an attack on human dignity."

The Brazilian embassy - which currently holds about 40 people - is being subjected to "severe intimidation and demoralisation measures which are tantamount to torture," Casaes said in Washington.

Zelaya was ousted from power and sent into exile June 28. On Sep 21 he secretly returned to the country and sought refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, where he had remained since then.

Casaes denounced the application of "new forms of psychic torture" in recent days, including the use at night of two very powerful lamps directed at Zelaya's room.

"Even at night it looks like daytime given the intensity of the light," Casaes said.

There are also "horns that play non-stop making it impossible to sleep" as well as "noises made by policemen imitating animal sounds."

Casaes noted that the supply of food is "limited" and sometimes delayed, which has led to "generalised diarrhoea" within the building. The food is, moreover, invariably "smelled by dogs."

OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza expressed concern over "hostility" against the embassy.

"It does not help have greater understanding and the better atmosphere in which we all want this issue to develop," he noted.