Luis Alonso Almendares

At about 6 p.m. on September 27, 2020, in the central Honduran city of Comayagua, two unidentified individuals on a motorcycle shot Luis Alonzo Almendares, a local freelance journalist, three times and then fled the scene; bystanders brought the journalist to a local hospital, and he was then transferred to the Escuela Universitario hospital in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, where he died the next morning, 

At the time of the attack Almendares was streaming a live video and was able to post a brief video on Facebook; in which he can be heard saying that he had been shot and asking for help from passers-by.

Luís Alonso Almendares was an independent journalist who investigated topics of corruption in public and private institutions as well as human rights violations.

He was the third journalist killed in Honduras in 2020.

Almendares posted his local news reporting to his Facebook page, where he identified himself as “The Voice of the Comayaguans.” He had more than 40,000 followers, and frequently reported on alleged corruption and mismanagement by local officials.

He published information about the Industrial Chamber of Commerce in Comayagua and the activities of businessmen in the city. This activity resulted in the businessmen pressuring the journalist to reveal his sources of information. Due to his research and journalistic work, he had received threats and attacks which he had reported but which have not been investigated.

According to local media outlet C-Libre, Almendares had repeatedly contacted the press freedom group about various threats he had received in response to his coverage since 2017, including death threats.

A local journalist who knew Almendares and who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing security concerns, said that Almendares “denounced acts of corruption from various local authorities in Comayagua, and was very critical about how the COVID-19 aid had been distributed.”

The journalist suggested that the attack may have been connected to a video that Almendares posted to Facebook on September 23, 2020, that showed an alleged killing committed by someone driving a car with police lights. The day after he was killed, the Honduran Journalists’ Union, a local press association, tweeted a link to that video, saying that it should be “the starting point” for the investigation into Almendares’ killing.

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission has demanded that the case be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

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Date of Killing:28/10/2020

Type of Work:Journalist/communicator

Organisation:Canal 58

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:Civil and Political Rights, ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Abuse of power/corruption, Freedom of Expression, Impunity/Justice

More information:Front Line Defenders

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