Honduras court seizes ex-president’s properties

April 1, 2022 GMT
FILE - Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks during a press conference at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 24, 2021. A court in Honduras authorized prosecutors Friday, April 1, 2022, to seize properties, bank accounts and vehicles linked to Hernandez. (AP Photo/Elmer Martinez, File)
FILE - Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks during a press conference at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 24, 2021. A court in Honduras authorized prosecutors Friday, April 1, 2022, to seize properties, bank accounts and vehicles linked to Hernandez. (AP Photo/Elmer Martinez, File)
FILE - Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks during a press conference at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 24, 2021. A court in Honduras authorized prosecutors Friday, April 1, 2022, to seize properties, bank accounts and vehicles linked to Hernandez. (AP Photo/Elmer Martinez, File)
FILE - Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks during a press conference at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 24, 2021. A court in Honduras authorized prosecutors Friday, April 1, 2022, to seize properties, bank accounts and vehicles linked to Hernandez. (AP Photo/Elmer Martinez, File)
FILE - Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks during a press conference at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 24, 2021. A court in Honduras authorized prosecutors Friday, April 1, 2022, to seize properties, bank accounts and vehicles linked to Hernandez. (AP Photo/Elmer Martinez, File)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — A court in Honduras authorized prosecutors Friday to seize properties, bank accounts and vehicles linked to former President Juan Orlando Hernández.

Court spokeswoman Bárbara Castillo said that includes 30 properties, 80 accounts and 16 vehicles.

The preliminary seizure is for one year, but can be extended. Eventually, the properties could be permanently seized and turned over to the government. They are in the names of 11 people linked to Hernández.

Earlier this week, Honduras’ Supreme Court approved the extradition of Hernández to the United States to face drug trafficking and weapons charges. .

Hernández’s wife, former first lady Ana García, made public a letter in which the former president again asserts his innocence and claims to be the victim of “revenge and conspiracy.”

“In the end I realize there is the possibility facing three life sentences, which could become a living death for me,” wrote Hernández, who left office in January at the conclusion of his second term.

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Earlier this month a judge decided to grant the U.S. extradition request, and apparently all that remains to be done is the paperwork.

U.S. prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have accused Hernández in recent years of funding his political rise with profits from drug traffickers in exchange for protecting their shipments. He has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Hernández has maintained that statements against him have been made by drug traffickers extradited by his government who wanted to seek revenge against him. He denies having any ties to drug traffickers.

Hernández was arrested at his home Feb. 15 at the request of the U.S. government.

The arrest came less than three weeks after he left office and followed years of allegations by U.S. prosecutors of his alleged links to drug traffickers. His brother, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, was sentenced to life in a U.S. prison on drug and weapons charges in March 2021.

After his arrest, the former president was led before cameras flanked by police, shackled at the wrists and ankles, and wearing a bulletproof jacket.