Honduras OKs shoot-downs of suspected drug planes

2014-01-18 21:57
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Tegucigalpa - Honduras' Congress has passed a law authorising the air force to shoot down unidentified planes suspected of carrying drugs over the Central American country, legislators said.

The legislature voted overwhelmingly on Friday night to pass the "air space protection law" even though Honduras is a signatory of an international treaty that forbids downing of civilian aircraft, congressional vice president Marvin Ponce told AFP.

Ponce said the law authorises planes to be shot down if they fail to file flight plans or abide by civil aviation rules.

"If an unidentified or unauthorised aircraft is detected, it will be subjected to the progressive use of force, through investigation, interception, pursuit and in its maximum use the definitive neutralisation of threat, which will be ordered by the secretary of defence," the law states.

The United States reportedly suspended sharing of radar intelligence with Honduras after the Honduran air force shot down a suspected drug plane in June 2012.

Central America is major transit point for drugs moving north to the US market on small aircraft and boats, according to US officials.

Defence Minister Marlon Pascua, in an interview with the newspaper La Tribuna, said Honduras has cut the movement of drugs through its territory by 74% since mid-2010.

Read more on:    honduras  |  narcotics

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