As reported yesterday by McClatchy, Micheletti is quoted as saying
Zelaya would be jailed and tried on 18 charges of violating the constitution if he returned.Not a direct quote, and could easily be bad reporting, but if accurate, Micheletti appears not to understand that under current Honduran legal procedure, those charged with crimes are not automatically thrown in jail; there is the whole business of hearings and trials.
Judges can even ignore requests for imprisonment, as justice Maritza Arita did in the case of three protesters charged in the aftermath of the UNAH invasion.
(Justice Arita, despite also jailing some protestors, is now the focus of retaliation in Honduras by the de facto government, working through its wholly-controlled Supreme Court, due to the pique her refusal to accept government over-charging has aroused.)
But equally interesting is Micheletti's assertion that President Zelaya has been charged with 18 counts of violating the constitution. According to an article published July 2 in the pro-coup newspaper, La Prensa, the 18 charges trumped up after the coup include a variety of criminal complaints. The road was opened to this wider gamut of charges by the Supreme Court's cynical ruling on June 29 that since President Zelaya was no longer carrying out the office of President, he was subject to prosecution through the ordinary courts.
Let's be clear: the reason I have not translated these 18 charges yet is that they are spurious, politically motivated, and entirely suspect, based on manufactured "evidence" of the flimsiest kind and in many cases, of dubious legal basis.
But nonetheless, I would expect Micheletti to know the difference between constitutional violations and other kinds of crimes. As the ultimate sponsor of this bill of lies, he should know that many of the "crimes" represent administrative disputes that would at best be heard by the Court of Contentious Administration; ordering the construction of a civilian airport at Palmerola (which Zelaya discussed after the deadly crash in Tegucigalpa in 2008) seems unlikely to be a crime at all; and others of the so-called constitutional "crimes" were actions that congress supported.
My favorites, though, which I find most difficult to imagine a way to misrepresent as supposed constitutional crimes:
11. Label as political the decisions of the Public Prosecutor and Judicial Power.
12. State that the National Congress did not have the right to approve the Law of Plebiscite and Referendum
13. Accuse the regulation of plebiscite and referendum approved by Congress of being a "lying law"
[The Honduran Constitution explicitly guarantees the right of freedom of opinion and speech, or at least it did until the de facto regime began suspending civil rights]
AND--the one that really mystifies me--
17. Publicly exhibit a child contaminated with the H1N1 flu virus.
Which deserved billing before the afterthought of the litter:
18. Firing General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez.
Good to know they have their priorities straight. And I will let you know if I figure out how presenting a poster-child for an anti-flu campaign violated the constitution.