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Zelaya backers said killed, arrested

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Dozens of supporters of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya have been killed and thousands more arrested, human rights groups allege.

Such organizations in Honduras and abroad say the country's de facto government has instituted a crackdown on Zelaya's backers in a country where death squads and extrajudicial killings already were already common, The Miami Herald reported Saturday.

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The newspaper quoted activists as saying there have also been more than 3,000 people arrested, 450 beatings and 114 people jailed as political prisoners since the June coup.

But National Police spokesman Orlin Cerrato disputed those figures. "It seems now that anytime something goes wrong, the people of the resistance are trying to connect it with being part of the resistance when there could be other factors involved," Cerrato said.

Cerrato denied there are political prisoners, asserting people arrested at pro-Zelaya rallies and protests were detained for criminal acts such as painting graffiti.

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