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Micheletti: Zelaya's return a non-starter

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on September 25, 2007 in New York City. (UPI Photo/Monika Graff)
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on September 25, 2007 in New York City. (UPI Photo/Monika Graff) | License Photo

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Honduran interim President Roberto Micheletti says the only way ousted Manuel Zelaya could return would be to face charges.

Micheletti was named interim president after a military coup sacked Zelaya, who was shuttled to Costa Rica after his ouster in June.

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Micheletti said Zelaya would be jailed and tried on 18 charges of violating the Constitution if he returned, McClatchy News Service reported Tuesday.

"The only way President Zelaya can return is if he submits himself to the justice system," Micheletti said.

Micheletti dismissed accusations his government abused human rights in quelling protests, and said he doesn't expect U.S. President Barack Obama to enact tough economic sanctions against Honduras.

Micheletti's comments indicate analysts may be correct in their assertions he won't be cowed by international pressure to allow Zelaya's return under a plan being negotiated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.

Micheletti said Zelaya can't be trusted because he violated the Constitution by trying to hold a referendum so that he could seek re-election.

"He'd never keep his word," Micheletti said. "I know him. I helped him become president. He was a democrat. But he became a leftist with a plan to follow Ecuador and Venezuela. He wanted to become a dictator and emulate (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez."

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