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Latino Daily News

Friday April 19, 2013

Honduran Prosecutor’s Murder Shakes Country

Honduran Prosecutor’s Murder Shakes Country

Photo: Orlan Chavez

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Even in a country that suffers an average of 20 murders a day, the assassination of a veteran prosecutor has left Honduras stunned.

Orlan Chavez, who worked in the organized-crime unit of the attorney general’s office, was gunned down Thursday night in Tegucigalpa.

The third prosecutor slain in less than two years, Chavez had been a public servant for 30 years and helped draft Honduras’ anti-money-laundering statute.

The victim’s colleagues wept Friday as they lamented the loss of a prosecutor one of them described as “a brilliant man.”

President Porfirio Lobo’s administration condemned “the vile and cowardly murder” and pledged a prompt, thorough investigation.

Chavez “left a legacy of what it means to battle organized crime and drug trafficking,” Lobo’s office said in a statement.

The prosecutor was driving near the National Stadium in Tegucigalpa when two assailants on a motorcycle pulled alongside his vehicle and opened fire.

Chavez did not have an escort, despite the plague of violent crime that has driven the Honduran homicide rate to 85.5 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in the world.

The prosecutor’s slaying is another sign of the risks run by those who “try to provide the Honduran people with public safety,” Human Rights Commissioner Ramon Custodio told Efe.

At least 30 lawyers were slain in Honduras in 2011-2012, according to figures from Custodio’s office.

Honduras is also a very dangerous country for journalists, with 27 unsolved murders of news professionals since 2010.