US asks Honduras to arrest, extradite ex-President Hernández

The United States has asked Honduras to arrest former President Juan Orlando Hernández for his eventual extradition to the U.S., officials confirmed Monday.

Honduras’ foreign affairs ministry initially said via Twitter that it had notified the country’s Supreme Court of Justice that the U.S. Embassy had formally requested the arrest of a Honduran politician for the purposes of extradition.

The ministry did not identify the politician. But Honduras’ current vice president, Salvador Nasralla, confirmed to The Associated Press that request names Hernández.

CNN en Español first reported that the politician was Hernández, showing the communication from the ministry to the court naming Hernández.

Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice, declined to comment. The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hernández left office Jan. 27 with the swearing in of President Xiomara Castro. The same day Hernández left office he was sworn in as Honduras’ representative to the Central American Parliament.

With a weak and co-opted Honduran justice system, Hondurans’ hope for justice had rested for years with U.S. federal prosecutors in New York, where a string of revelations against Hernández was closely followed back home.

Speculation had swirled for months over whether Hernández would be charged once he was no longer president, because U.S. prosecutors in New York repeatedly implicated him in his brother’s 2019 drug trafficking trial, alleging that his political rise was fueled by drug profits.

Hernández strongly denied any such activities.

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