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National Police officers detain Spanish journalist

(C-Libre/IFEX) - According to Marlen Cruz, an attorney with the Human Rights Committee (Comité de Derechos Humanos, CODEH), Spanish journalist Mario Gazcón Aranda was detained by National Police officers on 29 November 2009 as he was taking photographs in the capital, Tegucigalpa.

Cruz said the journalist was detained on allegations that he had contravened the Electoral Law, which stipulates that foreigners may not enter Honduras and urge citizens to abstain from voting in elections.

According to Cruz, Gazcón Aranda was detained by plainclothes officers, who handcuffed him and put him in an unmarked car. Cruz said she spoke to deputy police commissioner Enrique Varela, who told her that he had contacted his superior and that Gazcón Aranda's case was going to be handed over to immigration authorities.

"The only thing they have as supposed evidence is five photographs in which he (Gazcón Aranda) is talking to people in the central park," Cruz said.

Prior to his detention, the 52-year-old journalist was followed for several days and his hotel room in the capital was broken into.

Gazcón Aranda works for a Colombia-based human rights organisation and arrived in Honduras on 5 November to obtain information about the human rights situation in the country.

C-Libre contacted the head of the National Special Services Department (Dirección Nacional de Servicios Especiales), René Maradiaga Panchamé, who said that "no one has been detained", without providing any further information.

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