Billy Joya

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Billy Fernando Joya Améndola (known as Billy Joya) is a former Honduran military officer who worked in the controversial Battalion 3-16,[1] national security adviser at Manuel Zelaya's government, a post in which he has continued.[2][3]

Military career[edit]

One of four children, Joya enrolled in military academy at 14, but was expelled "when a teacher caught him cheating on an exam."[4] He subsequently enlisted as a private and within two years had risen to become the youngest sergeant in the army. He joined the military police, and in 1981, along with a dozen other Hondurans, had 6 weeks' training in the US. He went on to become a member of Intelligence Battalion 3-16.[4]

Billy Joya was one of the at least 18 members of the death squad Intelligence Battalion 3-16 who trained at the School of the Americas in the United States.[5][6][7]

Joya fled legal proceedings in Honduras regarding allegations of torture and forced disappearances carried out by Battalion 3-16, and sought political asylum in Spain, which was rejected. In August 1998 a claim was filed against Joya in Spain requesting his detention, asserting universal jurisdiction under the Convention Against Torture.[8] "Joya voluntarily returned to Honduras in December 1998 after receiving promises of special treatment. He was jailed but freed in August 2000 after a judge said there was not enough evidence to continue his detention."[9]

In 1996 Joya told the victims of Battalion 3-16, "I ask pardon for having contributed to that history of pain and suffering that you experienced."[10]

Security adviser[edit]

As of mid-2006, Billy Joya was a national security advisor to Alvaro Romero, another former Battalion 3-16 member, who was a government minister (Secretary of Security) during the presidency of Manuel Zelaya.[11]


  1. ^ Violadores de Derechos Humanos en la década de los 80`s - Billy Fernando Joya Améndola, Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)
  2. ^ Goodman, Amy (2009-07-31). "Zelaya Speaks". Z Communications. Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  3. ^ Daily Telegraph, 5 July 2009, In Honduras coup, the truth is as strange as any 'banana republic' fiction
  4. ^ a b New York Times, 7 August 2009, A Cold War Ghost Reappears in Honduras
  5. ^ Imerman, Vicky; Heather Dean (2009). "Notorious Honduran School of the Americas Graduates". Derechos Human Rights. Archived from the original on 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  6. ^ Valladares Lanza, Leo; Susan C. Peacock. "IN Search of Hidden Truths -An Interim Report on Declassification by the National Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras". Archived from the original on 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  7. ^ Declassification Request to the U.S. Government by Honduran National Commissioner for Human Rights, 31 July 1995, see ref for "In Search of Hidden Truths"
  8. ^ CL Sriram (2002), "Exercising Universal Jurisdiction: Contemporary Disparate Practice", The International Journal of Human Rights
  9. ^ The Quest for Justice: Efforts to Prosecute Honduran Human Rights Abusers
  10. ^ Associated Press, 20 February 1996, "Former Honduran Officer Admits Kidnapping"
  11. ^ Holland, Clifton L. (June 2006). "Honduras - Human Rights Workers Denounce Battalion 3-16 Participation in Zelaya Government" (pdf). Mesoamérica Institute for Central American Studies. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 

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