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Honduras: Stop Intimidation and Threats Against Human Rights Defender Dina MezaWilliam Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador
Since at least June 2015, Dina Meza has been subjected to constant surveillance at her house and on the street.
(LONDON) - October 5, 2015 at 11:16am
I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist. I would like to draw your attention to the following case.
On 28 September 2015, unidentified men attempted to run over human rights defender Ms Dina Meza. The human rights defender was also the subject of a verbal attack by the two men. The intimidatory event follows months of threats and intimidation against Dina Meza, detailed below.
Dina Meza is a human rights defender and journalist. She works with the Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras – COFADEH (Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras), as well as being active in movements in defence of rights of women and campesinos (peasants).
She has also worked on radio programmes for COFADEH and for the Women’s Movement for Peace “Padilla Visitation”.
The incident on 28 September 2015 is the latest in a series of acts of intimidation and threats against Dina Meza as a result of her human rights work, including constant surveillance, intimidatory phone calls, digital attacks and sabotage to her vehicle.
On 5 and 7 September 2015 the human rights defender received viruses through two emails, supposedly from associates. The associates later told her they had not sent her the emails. In Latin America it is common for spyware to arrive through such emails.
On 22 August 2015 Dina Meza received both public and private messages on Facebook from a man who stated that Dina Meza and other journalists had received money and holidays from the ex president of Honduras, Pepe Lobo.
This same man was seen the previous day outside the human rights defender's home and it appeared he was attempting to take photos of it. Dina Meza had previously been defamed via Facebook by the same man on 21 July 2015.
On 20 August 2015, Dina Meza accompanied Cesario Padilla to the National Commission for Human Rights (CONADEH) to report vigilance of the student by armed men.
Once inside, she was threatened with an official complaint by an employee of the office because the human rights defender had published a note on her Facebook page on 30 July 2015 which stated that said employee had refused to give the human rights defender her details, as demanded by law.
She had asked for the details during an incident in which hundreds of students had been arbitrarily detained by police.
On 20 June 2015 Dina Meza experienced some difficulty while driving. When she went to a mechanic to look at it, it was discovered that a screw had been placed inside one of her tires.
This was also the case on the 14 June 2015, when her daughter lost control of and almost crashed the car. It is worth noting that this tactic was used against human rights defender Mr Hector Orlando Martínez Motiño before he was killed on 17 June 2015 in Choluteca.
The tactic was also used against human rights defender Ms Elizabeth Zúñiga, a colleague of Hector Orlando Martínez Motiño, on 17 August 2015.
It is further worth noting that Hector Orlando Martínez Motiño was due to bring a case of defamation against the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras - UNAH (The National Autonomous University of Honduras) and Dina Meza, as coordinator of the Iniciativa Periodismo y Democracia, was due to represent him.
Since at least June 2015, Dina Meza has been subjected to constant surveillance at her house and on the street. On one of these occasions, on 5 August 2015, the human rights defender's children were home alone.
On 29 July 2015, the human rights defender felt so threatened by a man following her that she stood beside a security guard and phoned Peace Brigades International, an organisation which provides her with international accompaniment.
On 13 and 14 June 2015 Dina Meza received a series of phone calls from a person she did not know, who persisted in calling even when she had informed him of this fact.
I am seriously concerned about the series of intimidation and threats against Dina Meza, as it is a pattern which has culminated in the killing of one human rights defender already, Hector Orlando Martínez Motiño.
I believe the threat against the human rights defender to be serious, and also to be directly related to her work in defence of human rights in Honduras.
I urges the authorities in Honduras to:
William Nicholas Gomes
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