Honduras drops all charges against ex-President

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 10:22

Tegucigalpa(Honduras): A Honduran court
has dismissed the last two remaining charges against former
President Manuel Zelaya, removing a key obstacle to his return
to the country.



The decision could also smooth the way for the
country`s return to the Organization of American States, which
expelled Honduras following the June 2009 coup that ousted
Zelaya.
A special appeals court panel dismissed charges of
fraud and falsifying documents lodged against Zelaya after the
coup.



The court said those criminal charges could have
improperly overlapped with civil law and should be vacated.
Federal prosecutors said they`ll appeal the court decision,
with 60 days to file the appeal.



In March, a judge suspended arrest warrants related to
the charges, which Zelaya claims are politically motivated.
Zelaya has already said he won`t return from the Dominican
Republican, where he lives, because he fears for his life.



In an interview with the Honduran radio station Radio
Globo in March, Zelaya claimed "there are people who want to
liquidate me and are still alive, and they have great power."
He added that his enemies include powerful businessmen but
gave no other details.
Zelaya did not immediately respond to the court`s
actions Monday.



Zelaya`s campaign to rewrite the constitution,
possibly to allow his re-election, angered Honduras` business
elite in 2009. The military deposed him and flew him out of
the country at gunpoint when he ignored a Supreme Court order
to cancel a referendum on the constitutional rewrite.



Roberto Micheletti, a former congressional leader,
took power on an interim basis, and former National Congress
President Porfirio Lobo won the country`s presidency in late
2009 in an election scheduled before the coup. Lobo replaced
Micheletti the following January.



In April, Lobo met with Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez and Colombian leader Juan Manuel Santos in Cartagena,
Colombia, where the three agreed that dropping the charges
against Zelaya could help Honduras` return to the Organization
of American States. Venezuela and its leftist allies had
opposed Honduras` return.



PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 10:22
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