Luis Almendares was shot three times by two men on a motorbike. (Luisito Almendares/ Facebook)
A journalist in Honduras has been murdered after publicly condemning violence against LGBT+ people in the Central American country.
According to the Washington Blade, Luis Almendares was shot three times by two men on a motorbike in the city Comayagua while he was filming a Facebook Live. He passed away in hospital the following day.
Almendares was known for denouncing politicians and business owners in the area “on issues of corruption and drug trafficking”, according to local news outlets.
He also wrote on social media about a gay man who was attacked with a machete in Comayagua, saying that authorities refused to help the man, and publicly condemned violence against a trans woman. One of his colleagues told CNN en Español that he had received death threats because of his work.
Although it is not clear whether his murder was related to his work, Reporters Without Borders insisted in a statement that authorities should “prioritize the hypothesis that it was linked to the victim’s reporting”.
The organisation added: “The endless spiral of violence against the Honduran press has to be brought to an end.
“How many journalists need to be murdered before the authorities react, by reinforcing their mechanism for protecting journalists and by establishing a lasting plan for combatting impunity for these crimes?”
Condenamos el crimen que le quitó la vida al periodista Luis Almendares. De inmediato se inició una investigación por la Unidad Especial de la @PoliciaHonduras teniendo importantes avances. A los responsables les caerá todo el peso de la ley. Nuestra solidaridad con su familia. pic.twitter.com/4RKrdhV1NE
— María Andrea Matamoros Castillo (@mariandreamc) September 28, 2020
A spokesperson for the Honduran government, María Andrea Matamoros Castillo, said in a statement: “We condemn the crime that took the life of journalist Luis Almendares.
“The Honduras National Police’s Special Unit immediately launched an investigation… Those responsible will feel the full weight of the law. Our solidarity with the family.”
According to a report by Front Line Defenders (FLD), in 2019 Honduras was the third deadliest country in the world for activists who fought to defend the environment, free speech, LGBT+ rights and indigenous lands.
Although homosexuality was legalised in the country in 1899, same-sex marriages and adoptions have been banned in Honduras since 2005 and queer people face high levels of discrimination and violence.
Between 2009 and 2017, at least 264 LGBT+ people were murdered.