February 25, 2010
Update: Honduran Evangelical Ministry Faces Trial This Week
AJS received an answer to prayer yesterday. The security company taking co-founder Kurt Ver Beek to court (see previous post) was a no-show Wednesday.
Read on for the update from Abram Huyser Honig:
Your, and our, prayers have been answered even more quickly than expected! Let me tell you about it.
It was the big day. The date for the trial had been set eight months earlier, back in June, and both sides had been preparing. Courtroom #1 at the Francisco Morazán Sentence Tribunal was an awesome sight to see this morning: every single chair in the gallery was occupied by an ally of justice, there in support of Kurt and Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa. People from CRWRC, IJM, the World Bank, Danish Church Aid, and other organizations working for justice were all there. On the sidewalk outside the court building, two dozen men, women, and children who had benefitted from AJS's work held a peaceful demonstration, holding up signs with slogans like "Justice for ASJ." And all of us there for AJS in the courtroom knew that there were an additional 300 or so people around the world who had sent emails to the Supreme Court on our behalf, and thousands who were praying--and that all of you were with us in spirit.
To our great surprise, the only person conspicously absent as the minutes ticked by was the one who had caused the whole trial in the first place: Selvin Richard Swasey, owner of private security company SETECH.
At 10:00 a.m. the three judges on the panel assigned to the case assumed their positions behind the judges' table and called the court to order. On the right of the room sat Kurt Ver Beek and ASJ lawyer Veronica Murillo; on the left sat lawyer Jose Marcelino Vargas, alone. The first order of business was to find out why that was. "My client is currently out of the country," Mr. Vargas stated.
Wow. While we were completely prepared to go to trial, rooted in the knowledge and conviction that Kurt and everyone involved with AJS have always sought simply to speak up for the defenseless, Mr. Swasey seemed to have realized that he could not win this unjustly founded trial--and not only preferred not to show up to the courtroom, but had apparently left the country. Due to Mr. Swasey's absence, the judges set a new trial date for November of this year. However, given Mr. Swasey's decision not to appear in court today, we believe it is highly unlikely that he will show up for a trial in November, or ever.
We are rejoicing, saying to God, in the words of King David, "You made my enemies turn their backs in flight" (2 Samuel 22:41). Please join us in thanking Him!
Thank you so much for all you do to help make Honduras a more just society. Gracias, y que Dios le bendiga,
Abram Huyser Honig
Director of Operations
Association for a More Just Society