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Americas

Zelaya free to return - for 'high treason' trial, de facto rulers say

Video by Florence VILLEMINOT

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-20

Honduras's de facto government has said ousted president Manuel Zelaya is free to return to the country, but can expect to be put on trial for treason if he does. Zelaya is demanding to be returned to power.

AFP - Honduras's ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, can return to his country -- but only to go on trial for treason, not to retake power as he is demanding, the de facto government said Sunday.
  
The declaration was made in a statement given to reporters in Costa Rica by officials of the current Honduras regime who were meeting here with Zelaya's aides in a mediated bid to resolve the crisis in their Central American nation.
  
Zelaya may reenter Honduras "with the necessary guarantees so that he can exercise his rights before the competent jurisdictions of the judicial power," it read.
  
Honduras's new regime has leveled 18 charges against Zelaya, including "high treason." They have previously threatened to arrest him if he returned.
  
The text was a counter-proposal to an idea floated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who suggested Zelaya be allowed to return as president leading an interim "reconciliation" government ahead of early elections.
  
Talks Arias is hosting between both sides are in an impasse over Zelaya's repeated demand to return to Honduras to resume power.
  
Zelaya tried to fly back into Honduras on July 5 on a plane borrowed from his strongest ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but had to abort the landing when Honduran military vehicles were parked on the runway.
  
The president, who was rousted by the Honduran army on June 28 and forcibly deported, has insisted he would try again, possibly by land.
  
Neither he nor the interim leader who has replaced him, congress chief Roberto Micheletti, were in Costa Rica for the talks. Each has declared himself the legitimate president of Honduras.

Date created : 2009-07-19

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