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Honduras announces construction of new prison with capacity for 20,000 people

Honduran authorities announced on Friday (14) a series of measures aimed at reducing organized crime, including the construction of a new prison, mass trials and terrorist designations for gang members.

President Xiomara Castro said in a late-night television address that security forces should be mobilized to “urgently carry out interventions in parts of the country with the highest incidence of gang crimes, such as murders for hire, drug and firearms trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and money laundering.”

The measures reflect the mass trials and “mega-prison” launched by President Nayib Bukele in neighboring El Salvador, measures that have drawn the ire of human rights groups who allege abuses, but which have reduced the country’s homicide rates and earned it widespread popularity.

Honduran government leaders announced plans to immediately build a prison to hold about 20,000 people in the sparsely populated area between the eastern departments of Olancha and Gracias a Dios. This would greatly expand the country’s current prison capacity, which holds around 20,000 inmates in 25 prisons in overcrowded conditions.

Authorities also said the Honduran Congress should reform the criminal code so that drug traffickers and members of criminal gangs who commit specific crimes, such as those listed by Castro, are designated as “terrorists” and face collective trials.

Hector Gustavo Sanchez, who heads the national police force, said that a list of “intellectual authors, leaders and gang members” was being distributed and that the immediate arrest of those on the list was being ordered.

Operations will also be launched to locate and destroy plantations growing marijuana and coca leaves – the main ingredient in cocaine – as well as centers used to process illegal drugs.

Honduras declared a state of emergency in December 2022, suspending parts of the Constitution as it tried to crack down on rising crime attributed to gangs.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Sarah Morland; Editing by Kylie Madry and William Mallard)

Source: CNN Brasil

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