Missing Honduran journalist found dead

Honduran journalist and gay activist was found dead on Monday, May 7, after having been reported missing for two days, according to the BBC. Journalist Erick Martínez Ávila was a spokesperson for the group Kulkulcán, which represents the rights of homosexuals in Honduras. He was also a Congressional candidate for the National Resistance Front party, which was created by followers of the ousted President Manuel Zelaya, reported the news agency EFE.

The activist's body showed up in a sewer close to a highway that leads to the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, reported the Cuban official news agency Prensa Latina. According to police, the body showed no sign of injuries or beatings, and the forensics doctor determined the cause of death to be strangulation, according to the AFP news agency.

The National Human Rights Commissioner has reported the killing of 22 Honduran journalists since 2003, said the newspaper Proceso, adding that most of the deaths occurred since the 2009 coup d'etat. The number of killings makes Honduras the second-most dangerous country in the Americas for the press. For more information, see this Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas map about attacks against the press in Central America.

Preliminary investigations still have not determined if the killing was related to Martínez's work as a journalist. A report by National Human Rights Commission said that about 20 members of the gay community were killed in Honduras during the current administration of President Porfirio Lobo, reported the leftist organization Kaos en la Red. Honduras is also the country with the highest homicide rate in the world, according to the United Nations.