Well-known Honduran gay activist Walter Trochez was murdered in a drive-by shooting Dec. 14 in Tegucigalpa. He was 27.
Trochez was an active member of the resistance front against June's coup d'état and, on Dec. 4, had been kidnapped, beaten, interrogated about the resistance, threatened with death, and told to cease his activism.
The four kidnappers, whose clutches he managed to escape after several hours, wore hoods and drove a truck without license plates. They were probably government agents, multiple sources said. Police officials denied any involvement.
"Even if you give us the information, we're going to kill you," the kidnappers told him. "We have orders to kill you."
In his role with the Resistencia Nacional Contra el Golpe de Estado, Trochez had been documenting and publicizing homophobic killings and crimes believed to be committed by the forces behind the coup, as well as general human-rights violations committed during anti-coup protest marches.
He had recently published an article titled "Increase in hate crimes and homophobia toward LGTB as a result of the civic-religious-military coup in Honduras."
The article said, in part: "It is worth stating that the explicit support of the church in Honduras for the military coup of June 28, 2009, prevented holding a referendum organized by the legitimate constitutional government, while it put dictator Roberto Micheletti in power. ... Once again we say it is NOT ACCEPTABLE that in these past four months, during such a short period, nine transsexual and gay friends were violently killed, six in San Pedro Sula and three in Tegucigalpa. ... As a revolutionary, I will always defend my people, even if it takes my life."
"The murder of Walter Trochez must be investigated immediately and those responsible brought to justice," said Kerrie Howard, Amnesty International's Americas deputy director.
"Amnesty International fears that Walter's killing may be a sign of worse abuses to come in the atmosphere of political instability and fear that has prevailed since the coup d'état in June. ... The de facto authorities must ensure all reports of reprisals against protesters and campaigners are fully investigated and subject to the full weight of the law."
Human Rights Watch called Trochez's murder "part of a pattern of violence against LGBT people in Honduras that seems to have accelerated in the turbulent months since the June 28 coup."
"The mounting violence against people who look or love differently in Honduras reflects a crisis of intolerance," said HRW researcher Juliana Cano Nieto.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said Dec. 17 that Trochez's death was "the 16th known murder in the Honduran LGBT community since the military coup."
"The human rights of people in all sectors of Honduran society are being systematically violated as the direct result of the military coup. However, the accelerated rate at which LGBT people have been killed in the last five months suggests a targeted pattern of violence," the group said.
Assistance: Bill Kelley