Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Coup regime lifts some of the curbs on civil liberites

Isabel Sanchez in the AFP writes: 
(October 5, 2009) The coup-backed government in Honduras on Monday lifted a decree restricting civil rights, in a step toward dialogue with ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who is still holed up in Brazil's embassy.

"We've abolished the decree in the Council of Ministers," de facto leader Roberto Micheletti told a news conference here.

Micheletti had imposed the 45-day decree suspending freedom of movement, assembly and speech on September 27, using it to shut down two opposition media outlets and stamp out protests by supporters of Zelaya.

The clampdown followed the surprise return home of Zelaya on September 21, almost three months after the June 28 coup.

Micheletti said earlier that he had decided to "totally annul" the decree because calm was returning to the country and because of the negative reaction of the international community.

Zelaya had joined calls for the decree be lifted ahead of talks between members of the two camps brokered by the Organization of American States (OAS), expected to start this week.

The talks were set to discuss an accord proposed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, which includes Zelaya's brief reinstatement and elections for his successor.

Zelaya called Monday on the de facto government to "immediately" sign the Arias proposal, although Micheletti has long resisted because it would return to Zelaya to power.