Friday, April 23, 2010

Jesuit statement regarding threats to Padre Melo

Statement of the Jesuits of Honduras

The superiors of the Society of Jesus in Honduras, in the face of the threats and duress that repeatedly target Father Ismael Moreno, S.J. (Padre Melo), we declare the following before national and international public opinion:

First: We denounce the fact that in the last few weeks Padre Melo has been the object of death threats by unknown persons through text messages and calls to his dell phone. Such threats are related to the humanitarian decision to provide protection for the young woman Irma Melissa Villanueva in a case already known by the Public Ministry’s District Attorney’s office and by various national and international human rights organizations.

Second: we affirm that the relation of Padre Melo with Irma Melissa and her family is exclusively in terms of the actions that occurred on August 14 in Choloma, the day Irma Melissa accused various policemen of having raped her on the occasion of a march of the Resistance in that city. The action of Padre Melo is in the framework of a Christian commitment in the face of situations that require the humanitarian accompaniment of members of religious communities such as he.

Third: we note that the threats against Padre Melo don’t refer only to him. The Society of Jesus denounces the fact that Gerardo Chévez, Radio Progreso reporter, also is receiving threats and intimidation for his informative work in the Radio.

Fourth: we note that on Friday, April 17, Father Valentín Menéndez, S.J., superior of the Jesuits in El Progreso, Yoro, presented a formal complaint (denunciation) to the Special District Attorney for Human Rights in San Pedro Sula in which he asked that there be an ongoing investigation of the threats and duress against Padre Melo.

Fifth: we demand that the national authorities conduct a diligent and effective investigation of the deeds which have been denounced and we make an urgent appeal to national and international human rights organizations to follow up on this case.

Released in the city of El Progreso, in the department of Yoro, the nineteenth of April, 2010.

Valentín Menéndez S.I.
Superior of the Jesuits of El Progreso.
Carlos Solano S.I.
Superior of the Jesuits of Yoro
Juan José Colato S.I.
Superior of the Jesuits of Tocoa.

Spanish original can be found at the Radio Progreso blog or at my Spanish language blog.

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