10 April 2013

On 8 April 2013, human rights defender and journalist, Ms Fidelina Sandoval, was shot at metres from the television station where she works. Fidelina Sandoval is a journalist with Globo TV who covers a number of issues relating to human rights, security and civil society organisations.

On 8 April 2013, at approximately 8.25am, Fidelina Sandoval was crossing Boulevar Morazán on her way to work when a grey van with two men sitting in the front caught her attention. She turned her face to avoid looking directly at them, but seconds later heard a shot fired from a gun. Once she assessed that she had not been hit she approached two guards and a taxi driver who were nearby. They asked her if she had any enemies as the shots had been aimed at her.

The previous week Fidelina Sandoval had addressed issues relating to police reforms and the killings of members of the peasant movement in the Bajo Aguan, following which she had received two strange calls from unknown persons. On 4 April an interview was broadcast on the evening news in which the Police Commissioner gave details of the police reform process.

This attempt on the life of Fidelina Sandoval is in the context of an escalation of violence against journalists and those exercising their right to freedom of expression in Honduras. It has been reported that since 2009 at least 30 journalists have been killed across the country and to date the authorities have failed to find, prosecute and imprison the masterminds and perpetrators of those killings.

Front Line Defenders has previously issued appeals on threats against Mr Julio Ernesto Alvarado on 8 March 2013, Ms Gilda Silvestrucchi on 25 January 2012, Mr David Romero and Ms Lidieth Díaz on 5 April 2011, all of whom have received threats as a result of their work with Globo TV.

Front Line Defenders believes that the attempted assassination of Fidelina Sandoval is directly related to her human rights work and in particular her work as a journalist. Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Fidelina Sandoval and her family.