US requests extradition of former Honduran president Hernandez
Hernandez left office on January 27 with the swearing-in of President Xiomara Castro.
The United States has asked Honduras to arrest former President Juan Orlando Hernandez for his eventual extradition to the US.
Honduras’ foreign affairs ministry had said via Twitter on Monday that it had notified the country’s Supreme Court that the US embassy had requested the “formal provisional arrest of a Honduran politician” for extradition.
The ministry did not identify the politician but Honduras’ vice president, Salvador Nasralla, confirmed to The Associated Press that the request named Hernandez.
On Monday, tens of police officers surrounded Hernandez’s house, according to Reuters news agency reports.
Images of a document, which showed a “formal request for provisional arrest for the purpose of extradition to the United States of America of Juan Orlando Hernandez Alvarado” were also broadcast by CNN.
Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice, declined to comment. The US Department of State has not commented yet.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Hernandez was included on a list last year of people accused of corruption or undermining democracy in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
“The United States is advancing transparency and accountability in Central America by making public visa restrictions against Honduras’ former president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, on account of corrupt actions,” Blinken said on Twitter on February 7. “No one is above the law.”
Hernandez left office on January 27 with the swearing-in of President Xiomara Castro. The same day, Hernandez was sworn in as Honduras’ representative to the Central American Parliament.
With a weak and co-opted Honduran justice system, Hondurans’ hope for justice had rested for years with US federal prosecutors in New York, where a string of revelations against Hernandez was closely followed back home.
Speculation had swirled for months over whether Hernandez would be charged once he was no longer president, because US prosecutors in New York repeatedly implicated him in his brother’s 2019 drug trafficking trial, alleging that his political rise was fueled by drug profits.
Hernandez has denied all charges and claims the accusations are a part of a revenge plot from the same drug lords that his government captured or extradited to the United States.
His brother, former Honduran congressman Tony Hernandez, was sentenced in March 2017 to life imprisonment in the US for drug trafficking.
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