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Court threatens to fine and imprison editor

(C-Libre/IFEX) - A Honduran court has threatened to fine and imprison Jhonny José Lagos, the editor of the "El Libertador" newspaper, after the newspaper asked readers if they were for or against a "public consultation" regarding proposed constitutional changes which was scheduled to take place on 28 June 2009.

In a notice sent to the editor, the court warned that the punishment meted out to Lagos would be in accordance with Article 349 of the Criminal Code, which actually outlines sentences to be applied to government officials, not journalists.

"Why can't one ask society if they are interested in a new constitution? Is it illegal to ask that question?," the journalist said. He went on to state that "El Libertador" did nothing illegal in asking for the public's opinion.

Lagos said that, in addition to the notice issued by the court, he has also received death threats via both telephone calls and e-mails. He noted that if anything happens to him, he will hold the "power groups" in the country responsible.

"If I suddenly appear with three stab wounds and nothing in my wallet in order to make it look like common crime, or if I end up under a car and they call it an accident, or if they find cocaine in my bag, it will all be false," Lagos said.

The journalist feels that two former president's of Honduras, Carlos Flores Facussé y Ricardo Maduro, and businessmen Jorge Canahuati y José Rafael Ferrari, both of whom own media outlets, might be behind some of the actions against him.

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