Home Explainer Honduras Ex-President Hernandez Gets 45 Years In Jail In Drug Conviction

Honduras Ex-President Hernandez Gets 45 Years In Jail In Drug Conviction

A U.S. court has sentenced former President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez to 45 years in jail. In March, a jury convicted him of accepting millions of dollars in bribes to protect U.S.-bound cocaine shipments belonging to traffickers he once publicly proclaimed to combat.

Judge Kevin Castel said his prosecution should send a clear message to those who think they can escape prosecution because of their demeanour or standing in society.

He said the jury saw him for what he was – a two-faced politician hungry for power.

Hernandez said he was wrongfully convicted, even claiming that some of the witnesses may have deposed against him to reduce their own sentences.

He told the judge he was innocent and the truth would come out later.

Hernandez was President of Honduras, an ally of the U.S. in Central America, from 2014 to 2022.

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When he was President, he had claimed to fight the drug cartels in his country.

In October 2019 he had proudly claimed, “We will not stop working to keep on making Honduras a land that is hostile towards drug traffickers, towards gangs.”

Prosecutors said the reality was starkly different. Hernandez facilitated shipments of at least 400 tons of cocaine to the United States, fuelling addiction and violence.

Hernanadez was arrested three months after he finished his term in 2022 and extradited to the U.S. to stand trial.

Back in Honduras, the former President’s wife called the conviction a ‘judicial lynching’. Ana Hernandez is planning to run for office next year. She has vowed to fight his conviction. “My husband Juan Orlando Hernandez is innocent of each of the unfair charges against him. Today is an episode of a series of injustices that have happened. Today he was unfairly sentenced to 45 years. He who fought against criminals is facing a higher punishment than the most terrible murderers Honduras has had. What justice is it?,” she asked flanked by emotional relatives.

Hernandez’ brother Tony has also been sentenced in a drug-related case and is serving a life sentence in a California prison.