US suspends funds to Honduran police over human rights concerns


New National Director of Police in Honduras, Juan Carlos Bonilla, anwsers questions from the press in Tegucigalpa on May 24, 2012. Bonilla replaced General Ricardo Ramirez del Cid after after it emerged an imprisoned ex-officer could be linked to the recent murder of a journalist.



Honduran Police Chief Juan Carlos Bonilla is accused of human rights violations, triggering an investigation by the United States government. The US government had pledged $56 million to Honduras for 2012, but it is now withholding some of those funds while the investigation takes place, the Associated Press reported.

Bonilla, nicknamed "The Tiger," is accused of running a death squad a decade ago in the latest report by the US government. The police chief has previously been accused of killings and forced disappearances, the AP reported. Bonilla was also formally charged with murder once, but he was acquitted in 2004. He took on his current role as police chief in May. 

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According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, Honduran police have long threatened violence against human rights activists, journalists, gay people and other groups.

And in November, 176 Honduran police officers were arrested and accused of corruption.