Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador’s via dolorosa

This is another part of Dick Emanuelsson’s piece on Israeli commandos working as military advisers in Honduras.

The Magdiel Case

By Dick Emanuelsson

Translation: Machetera


A photo published on page 62 of the La Tribuna newspaper published in Tegucigalpa shows a soldier dressed in olive green camouflage and a military helmet, dragging Magdiel.


One important detail is that the firearm he is carrying in his right hand is similar to an M16 but smaller.  This kind of firearm is only used by members of the Armed Forces, specifically the Army.

Relatives in Tegucigalpa were able to easily identify Magdiel when they saw the photo in La Tribuna of his capture, by his clothing and his face.  At the same time the news was coming out on the radio about the dead man found in El Paraíso and through the descriptions they knew immediately that it had to do with a member of their family.

The police in El Paraíso tried to confuse the issue by reporting that two young men had been captured smoking marijuana, were taken to jail and later released.  But these arrests had no relation whatsoever to Pedro Magdiel, who was taken from the road out of El Paraíso where he actively participated in the protests and brought to the immigration post at Las Manos, as proven by plenty of photographs and videos.

An army officer should clarify who delivered the arrested man and thereby determine who tortured and murdered him.  Magdiel had at least 47 superficial stab wounds in his back and some of his fingers broken, bruises on his arms, and a wound on his head and neck.

According to the doctor who attended the transport of the body [for autopsy], he died at around 2 a.m., in other words, some ten hours after his detention.  The obvious question is “Where did they keep him?” if we accept as a given the police version which is that he never was in a police cell.

However,  El Paraíso police gave notice at 6:45 a.m. that a cadaver had been found.  This was stated by the head of the National Directorate for Criminal Investigation in the zone.

On various occasions, police spokesmen have denied arresting people.

The same day that Magdiel showed up dead they denied the arrest of some forty people whom the international press managed to prove were being held in jail cells belonging to the National Police within El Paraíso Department.  That led to aggression against various journalists, but it allowed for the arrival of human rights defenders and at 6 p.m. that day they managed to get everyone released, including some 10 minors, one of whom was 11 years old.

Those who ought to be answering questions are the Commander of the 110th Infantry Brigade, Colonel Alcides Flores García, Infantry Lieutenant Colonel Edilberto Recarte Ocampo, the Commander of the Sixth Batallion and Infantry Colonel Arcadio Castillo Martinez, commander of the Ninth Infantry Battalion.  These are the main military units in the area of El Paraíso and the person who appears in the photo taking Pedro Magdiel away surely belongs to one of them.

What is clear is that the death of the young man from the capital has nothing to do with common delinquency, as claimed by the head or the Armed Forces, Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, and at the very least it was one of his subordinates who was responsible for capturing him.  Therefore it is the Armed Forces who are being called upon to clarify the situation.

Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador was active in the creation of a bonfire on Friday afternoon, was possibly filmed by a policeman and, according to the versions told by the organizers, was filmed by a variety of demonstrators when he was supposedly arrested by the police.

According to other witnesses, the police had him under arrest until 6:30 a.m., Saturday July 25th, when he was released.

At 7:00 a.m., that is, 30 minutes after he was released, his dead body was found in a deserted field, 100 meters away from a police barrier, next to the wall of a coffee processor/bodega.

After the police removed the body in the presence of the prosecutor and the medical forensic examiner and two representatives from COFADEH, the medical examiner estimated that the time of death was 8-10 hours prior.

What does this say?

The body was removed at exactly 12 noon, Saturday.

Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador died therefore, between 2 and 4 a.m. on Saturday.

If the versions of the witnesses coincide, in that the police released Mr. Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, this means that Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador’s death occurred while he was in police custody.

El Heraldo, the Honduran newspaper that goes so far as to use Photoshop to erase the blood of Honduran victims in its photos in order to conceal the consequences of the coup d’etat, reported with record speed that at 12:22 p.m. – just 22 minutes after the removal of the body had begun from the eastern part of the country, while the process to determine the causes of Mr. Muñoz’s death had not even finished – that the national police had nothing to do with his arrest, according to their spokesman, Javier Cerrato.

So who was it that arrested him then?


1. On Saturday afternoon a National Police Van, series “COE-16,” TEG with the insignia “Servir y Proteger” (To Serve and Protect) filled with Cobra commando units, made a high speed incursion, pointed their weapons at the people and shot in the air while throwing tear gas canisters.  Two people were run over by this vehicle which deviated ten meters before the wall of soldiers on the right side of another highway.  There they turned around and returned but turned once again toward Las Manos, practically bowling over the wall of soldiers and police.


2. One policeman (photographed) was tasked with filming and registering the demonstrators.  I asked the prosecutor after the body was taken if they could ask to review the contents of the video and identify the police who were doing this work, an important point in order for all of the elements in the investigation to be analyzed and thereby reach a hypothesis to close the murder case.  The prosecutor said that anything that may resolve the case is possible, in other words including requisitioning the police video.


3. If Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador appears in this video, something that is highly likely considering that he was very active in the “construction” of the bonfire and barricade, carrying, as one woman told us, tires and tree branches, tree trunks and vegetation (that made a lot of smoke), then who, apart from the soldiers, police and uniformed officers grouped behind and watching through binoculars, has knowledge of the contents of the video where, surely, the faces of the demonstrators active that Saturday can be seen?

4. The young brickmason, an activist with the National Resistance Front Against the Coup D’Etat, met a terrible death; victim of sadists who tortured him, surely over a long period, taking into account that he was arrested around 5 p.m. in the afternoon on Friday and died between 2 and 4 a.m. on Saturday morning.

5. In Honduras, which sectors of society historically or presently practice such cruelty and insensitivity?

*The following links are to the photographs of the lifeless victim.  They are presented as material for the complaint.

Body wounds

Body in prone position, with back uncovered

Head wound (posterior)

Victim’s chest and face

Source: Independent News Center, Mexico, July 29, 2009
* all photographs in this complaint were published by the Chiapas Independent Media Center

Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

2 responses to “Pedro Magdiel Muñoz Salvador’s via dolorosa

  1. Thanks to you for the translation, Machetera, and to Dick Emanuelsson for the courageous reporting. This assembles, with the documenting pictures, many scattered reports, and as such it’s devastating.

    One tiny correction: the paper that photoshopped the blood from the AP image of Isis Murillo was La Prensa, El Heraldo’s sister paper (both Canahuati-owned). CubaDebate made the original catch:

    • That’s an interesting correction but let’s not lose sight of Emanuelsson’s main point which is that El Heraldo needed approx. 20 minutes to declare the Muñoz case closed after his body was found. Cubadebate’s work is unparalleled but their report does not exclude the possibility that both Canahuati papers engaged in photoshopping rather than just one. If I don’t forget, I’ll ask Emanuelsson about it, but for now I’m leaving it as is.

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