PEN SA Calls for the Release of Student Leader Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla Figueroa

15 Nov 2016
PEN SA Calls for the Release of Student Leader Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla Figueroa

This is one of the cases highlighted by PEN on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2016. Read about the other cases here.

Journalism graduate, student leader, and board member and founding member of PEN Honduras, Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla Figueroa has faced prosecution, threats and harassment for his part in on-going student protests at the state National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa since 2014. Read more about the case and find out what you can do to help on PEN International’s website.

PEN South Africa has sent a letter to the Public Prosecutor and National Human Rights Ombudsman in Honduras, calling for Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla Figueroa’s release:

PEN South Africa is writing to express our concern about the prosecution of PEN Honduras member Cesario Alejandro Félix Padilla Figueroa and to urge you to drop all charges brought against him.

On 17 July 2015, Padilla – along with fellow students Moisés David Cáceres, Sergio Luis Ulloa and Josué Armando Velásquez – was charged with ‘usurpation’ of UNAH property, under Article 227 of the Honduran Penal Code, for his part in the occupation of a university building during a student protest. We believe that Padilla is being prosecuted for exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly by peacefully participating in and observing student protests.

Padilla has also faced harassment and surveillance and we call on you to protect him by ending any unlawful surveillance of him and to investigate his reports of unlawful surveillance. On 15 August 2015, he reported that in the previous few days he had been tailed by two unknown armed men in his neighbourhood who had also been keeping watch over his home. The men had made it known to Padilla that they intended to harm him. He and PEN Honduras believed that this surveillance was in retaliation for his activities as a student leader.

We call on you not to criminalise social protest or use the justice system to generate fear, censorship and silence among journalists, writers and others in Honduras.


Margie Orford
PEN South Africa

Mandla Langa
Executive Vice-President
PEN South Africa

Raymond Louw
Vice President
PEN South Africa