Sunday, 4 October 2009


The following message was received from Dr. Juan Almendares, Honduran medical doctor and award-winning human rights activist and current president of the Honduran Peace Committee as well as the past secretary of the Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations.

Agustina Flores has been charged with sedition by judge Laura Castro on the bases of the testimonies of the police officers who arrested her, who Castro accepted also as witnesses against Flores. Agustina Flores is 53. The Honduran movement struggling for the restoration of democracy and the restitution of legitimate President Zelaya, refers to Flores as "the first woman political prisoner of the Micheletti dictatorship." 

In interviews Flores calls upon the international community to intensify their solidarity because in Honduras all freedoms and rights are being systematicall violated 'setting Honduras back 30 to 50 years' and, breavely, calls upon Honduras and the Resistance to continue the struggle. (Watch video in Spanish)
(Please note we have received this automatically translated note below and any errors, specially of medical terms are regretted. The Spanish original is appended.)

Medical Testimony

I, Juan Angel Almendarez Bonilla, Honduran doctor, member of the Medical Association of Honduras, registration number No 430, Executive Director of the Center for Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and their Families (CPTRT) duly authorized by the person concerned and their families, am bound for ethical reasons and respect for human rights to submit the following testimony to both national and international human rights organizations and world public opinion, regarding the violence and torture of the subject Agustina Flores Lopez, a teacher of fifty years specialising in Educational Management.

On 24 September at 6:30 pm, I was called by Berta Cáceres, leader of the Lenca indigenous organization COPINH, sister of Agustina and the President of COFADEH, Berta Oliva, to urgently assess the condition of health of Agustina, who is incarcerated at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (DGIC) in Comayagüela.

We visited with the team and Berta Cáceres of COFADEH at the DGIC on 24 September 2009 at 7 PM ET close to the hour of curfew. The authorities in control at that time allowed us to speak with and review the teacher.

By her own account Agustina Flores Lopez was taken prisoner by eight policewomen on Tuesday 22 September between 6.00 and 6:30 am, while walking in the area near the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa..

"While one twisted my arms behind my back the other hit me on the face, squeezed my neck and assaulted me—I had already been handcuffed-- and I recognised one of them with the surname Garcia. During the beating they shouted at me "YOU ARE THE DOGS OF RESISTANCE, ITS GOOD THAT YOU SHOULD BE FUCKED UP".

"First, they took me to Manchen and the patrol was carrying six members of the resistance who had been beaten up. Then I was taken to the Chochi Sosa Stadium where at first there were 11 detainees; but later I managed to see about thirty members of the resistance who had been beaten and wounded.

"Then I was moved on to the CORE VII detention center. They took my cell phone and to date it has not been returned."

A clinical description of Agustina shows the following features:

Profound sadness, facial deformities and pain afflicting various parts of the body: face, neck, back, arms and legs by the multiple traumas caused by police. Occasional dizziness and vertigo with frequent loss of balance. Does not remember whether she lost consciousness; sometimes are confused and sleepy.

Has a history of suffering Primary Sjogren's syndrome, with dryness of ocular and oral mucous membranes and autoimmune problems that make her susceptible to severe infections, especially under extremely unsanitary conditions in prisons. She is under treatment for hypothyroidism, with two hundred micrograms of levothyroxine. During her capture the taking of levothyroxine tablets was suspended, putting her life in extreme danger. This medication should be adjusted periodically under strict medical supervision because of the extreme stress and the physical and psychological torture under which teacher López Flores has been under.

Another of her major problems is hypertension. At the time of examination she had a reading of 220/100 mmHg, which exceeds the value for predisposition to cerebral vascular haemorrhage, due to the traumatic situation in which she lives deprived of liberty.

Among other findings:

Bruises from blows, with bruises below her lower lip and right labial region with inflammatory edema of the right half of lower lip, contusion area on the labial mucosa on the same side and right molar area ecchymosis of approximately 4 cm in an almost rectangular form.

Pain in the antero lateral left neck with blunt injuries and severe pain and spasms of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Neck movements associated with paresthesia (tingling) in both bilateral upper limbs. Severe pain that follows the anterior and lateral thigh.

Severe pain in the shoulder region, upper trapezius area and the back lumbar region of the spine and pain adjacent to both sides of the traumatic spinal injuries she received during capture.

Blunt injuries and muscular aches on the internal lateral left forearm.

Multiple injuries in blunt multiple trauma axillary, anterior right inner arm.

Bruises on the left elbow region and posterior aspect of left arm and ecchymotic circular lesions in the lower third of the inside of her left arm.

Based on the above I consider that Agustina Flores Lopez has high risk to her health as result of her imprisonment and should be transferred immediately to a hospital and placed under medical supervision for physical and psychological politraumatizatión; to be evaluated by specialists in Neurology, Endocrinology, Cardiology, Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, and provided counselling and under other conditions by trained personnel in torture CPTRT. In a beautiful gesture Agustina told me that one of her major concerns is not fulfilling her duties as a tutor to my grandchildren. Her eyes filled with tears when she stated that one of the most horrible experiences in her life has been to share the suffering and inhuman and degrading treatment suffered by detainees in Honduras

Based on the above we demand the immediate release of Agustina Flores Lopez; in addition to which, we have a moral obligation to demand freedom for each and all political prisoners in Honduras following the military coup.