Tag Archives: Guatemala

Guatemala: Guatemala’s crusading prosecutor exits amid praise, threats

May 7, 2018

Thelma Aldana

It’s been a long time since it was safe for Thelma Aldana to go out in public alone, and perhaps it never will be again.

As chief prosecutor for Guatemala, Aldana won plaudits at home and abroad as the woman who sent a president to prison and broke up a number of high-level corruption rings. But it came at a cost — her own personal safety — as her crusading angered some of the country’s most powerful and dangerous people, long accustomed to doing as they pleased with little or no consequences.

The biggest trophy on her wall from four years in office: Taking down a network allegedly led by then-President Otto Perez Molina, who is accused of defrauding the state of millions of dollars.

“In the Bible it says you shall know them by their fruits, and I gave my best effort,” Aldana said in a series of interviews with The Associated Press as she prepares to leave office when her term ends this month. “With all modesty, I leave with my head high.”

Those close to her call the 62-year-old Aldana “the boss.” She is described as a strictly punctual person and a voracious reader. Appearing before news cameras to announce the latest corruption ring to fall, she typically appears calm, collected and intrepid. Her facial expression is often tough and inscrutable, making it difficult to guess what she is thinking.

It seems the only one able to crack that demeanor is Toby, her 5-year-old Shih Tzu. Speaking to the AP in a small room at her offices decorated with recognitions where she likes to receive visitors, Aldana broke into a broad smile recalling how when she brings work home, Toby likes to rest in the cardboard box she uses to carry the same documents that could end up putting criminals and politicians behind bars.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/guatemalas-crusading-prosecutor-exits-amid-praise-threats-54978974

https://www.standardrepublic.com/news/top-news-guatemalas-crusading-prosecutor-exits-amid-reward-threats/

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/guatemala-taps-replacement-tough-graft-prosecutor-54922375

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/guatemala-attorney-general-nominations-threaten-anti-corruption-efforts/

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/may/7/thelma-aldana-guatemalas-crusading-prosecutor-exit/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelma_Aldana

http://www.elsalvador.com/noticias/internacional/478596/thelma-aldana-la-fiscal-que-apreso-a-un-presidente-en-guatemala-no-puede-salir-sola-a-las-calles-de-su-pais/ (ESPANOL)

http://cnnespanol.cnn.com/video/thelma-aldana-guatemala-trayectoria-anticorrupcion-live-kay-guerrero-conclusiones/ (ESPANOL)

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelma_Aldana (ESPANOL)

https://www.agenzianova.com/a/5af00f6c867368.10840220/1911792/2018-05-07/guatemala-procuratrice-generale-uscente-riferisce-del-suo-mandato (ITALIANO)

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Guatemala: Ex-Guatemala Supreme Court president shot dead

January 27, 2018

Crime 703x422

The ex-president of the Guatemalan Supreme Court was shot dead on Friday during an incident on the outskirts of the capital Guatemala City, according to emergency personnel.

Jose Arturo Sierra, who presided over the high court between 2013 and 2014, was attacked by unknown perpetrators while traveling by road. He was taken to hospital where he died, authorities announced on Twitter.

While officials have not confirmed the circumstances surrounding the attack, local press reported witness accounts of two people firing at Sierra, 72, from a motorcycle.

The CSJ “strongly” denounced the crime, which in a statement it said “adds to the widespread violence” in Guatemala.

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala echoed the condemnation, and recognised Sierra’s “vocation as a judge that he demonstrated in different positions in the Guatemalan justice system.”

Violence in Guatemala leaves thousands dead every year, with around half attributed by authorities to drug trafficking and activity related to the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gangs. A total of 5,384 people were killed last year, mostly in shootings.

https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1469828/-guatemala-supreme-court-president-shot-dead

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-5318403/Ex-chief-justice-Guatemalas-Supreme-Court-killed.html

http://en.rfi.fr/wire/20180127-ex-guatemala-supreme-court-president-shot-dead

http://www.theindependentbd.com/post/134624

https://republica.gt/2018/01/26/por-que-mataron-al-magistrado-jose-arturo-sierra/ (ESPANOL)

https://elpais.com/internacional/2018/01/26/actualidad/1516998467_374000.html (ESPANOL)

Guatemala/AI: PROTECT ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS DEFENDER FROM ATTACKS

guatemala_maldonado title=

Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores is a passionate and dedicated human rights lawyer. As the legal director of the Centre for Environmental, Social and Legal Action (CALAS), Rafael provides environment and water defenders with legal counsel to help them protect their rights to a healthy environment and freedom of expression, and defends their rights as Indigenous peoples.

But someone wants to stop Rafael’s and CALAS’ important work.

For several years, Rafael and his colleagues have been threatened and harassed outside their homes, at work, in public spaces, in newspaper articles and over social media.

• In April 2017 someone fired shots outside Rafael’s house

• In November 2016 22 year-old staffer Jeremy Barrios was murdered in Guatemala City

• In 2008 Executive Director Dr Yuri Melini was shot several times and survived

Despite these threats and attacks, the Guatemalan government has not brought anyone to justice nor has it provided adequate protection for Rafael and his colleagues.

http://takeaction.amnesty.ca/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1770&ea.campaign.id=70091

https://business-humanrights.org/en/entrevista-con-pedro-rafael-maldonado-flores-calas

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-pedro-rafael-maldonado-flores

http://copredeh.gob.gt/comunicado/ (ESPANOL)

Guatemala: The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the intimidation of lawyer Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores in Guatemala

May 19, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concern about the intimidation of lawyer Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores in Guatemala.

Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores is a human rights lawyer and the director of the legal department at Centro de Acción Legal Ambiental y Social de Guatemala (“CALAS”, also known in English as the Legal, Environmental and Social Action Centre of Guatemala). CALAS is a human rights organization which promotes environmental issues, community participation and respect for the collective rights of indigenous communities in relation to environmental concerns. CALAS has been active in denouncing human rights abuses committed by mining companies in Guatemala, in particular the transnational mining company Tahoe Resources Inc. and its Guatemalan subsidiary Minera San Rafael S.A. In addition to his work with CALAS, Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores has worked on lawsuits which oppose the criminalization of human rights defenders.

It has come to the Law Society’s attention that on April 3, 2017, unidentified men riding a motorcycle fired eight to twelve gunshots at a vehicle parked in front of Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores’s home in Guatemala City. The incident was reported to the local authorities and to the Public Prosecution.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Pedro Rafael Maldonado Flores has been targeted as a result of his human rights work. In January 2016, an organization called Fundación Contra el Terrorismo (Foundation Against Terrorism), which comprises (in part) multinational companies and former army personnel, commenced legal proceedings against him on the following grounds: discrimination, threats, aggravated theft, coercion, and “incitement to crime and conspiracy”. He received death threats via Twitter in November 2015, only a few short months after an unknown gunman riding a motorcycle fired multiple shots outside CALAS headquarters. In 2013, he was the subject of many defamatory newspaper articles.

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503820

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147503820&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

 

Guatemala: Guatemalan rights prosecutor arrested over alleged hit-and-run

September 23, 2016

Orlando Lopez

Orlando López has investigated some of the worst crimes committed during Guatemala’s bloody civil war and arrested powerful former military commanders for torture, genocide and forced disappearances.

But the efforts of the senior human rights prosecutor have not gone unnoticed by rightwing groups who claim he is spearheading a leftist conspiracy against the armed forces.

Now, López, 41, has been detained on homicide charges linked to an alleged hit-and-run incident, which his supporters say is part of a wave of malicious litigation against advocates seeking justice over civil war crimes.

The alleged traffic incident was reported by the Foundation against Terrorism, a rightwing group linked to retired military generals, which in recent years has accused dozens of senior judges, prosecutors and human rights activists of crimes including corruption, intimidation and links to organised crime.

“I know that I am here because of the work I have done. It has nothing to do with the traffic incident, this is just an excuse to target me,” López told the Guardian, while waiting handcuffed in Guatemala City criminal court.

López was lead prosecutor in the 2013 genocide trial against the former military dictator Efrain Rios Montt, and in the arrest earlier this year of 18 former army generals for multiple forced disappearances.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/23/guatemala-prominent-human-rights-prosecutor-orlando-lopez-arrested

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/9/23/headlines/guatemala_prosecutor_who_led_rios_montt_genocide_trial_arrested

Guatemala: ICJ strongly condemns attack on its director in Central America

August 16, 2016

The ICJ said today that the attack on Ramón Cadena, its director in Central America, is deplorable evidence that human rights lawyers in Guatemala cannot carry out their activities without fear of reprisal.

Around a dozen armed men ransacked Ramón Cadena’s house in Guatemala City on Monday morning while he was attending a workshop elsewhere in the country.

The ICJ regional director for Central America is the latest victim of a recent wave of harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders and legal and environmental activists in Guatemala and neighboring Honduras.

“The ICJ strongly condemns the attack against Ramón Cadena, which is most likely linked to his activities as a human rights lawyer,” said Wilder Tayler, ICJ Secretary General.

Ramón Cadena, a highly prominent human rights lawyer in the region, was a key witness in the trial of former President Efrain Rios Montt for his role in the alleged genocide and other atrocities committed during the civil war of the 1970s and 80s.

Ramón Cadena has also been providing legal advice and support (on behalf of the ICJ) to the communities fighting against mining projects in Guatemala.

“We urge the Guatemalan authorities to provide the much needed protection to Ramón Cadena and promptly and thoroughly investigate the attack to find the culprits. They must also combat the increasing threats and growing insecurity faced by human rights defenders in the country, which is a clear assault on human rights,” Tayler added.

ICJ strongly condemns attack on its director in Central America

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/15/guatemala-human-rights-laywer-attack-ramon-cadena-ramila

http://www.innercitypress.com/bankimoon1rapporteurs081616.html

http://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=ec76df73-a1a3-4a17-bfe8-b44b99037795

http://www.idhae.org/observatoire-fr-page4.1.gua081516.htm (FRANCAIS)

http://cnb.avocat.fr/Observatoire-international-des-avocats-en-danger-Soutien-a-Ramon-Cadena-avocat-guatemalteque_a2748.html (FRANCAIS)

http://www.avocatparis.org/soutien-ramon-cadena-avocat-guatemalteque-0

http://lahora.gt/ramon-cadena-denuncia-allanamiento-ilegal-vivienda/ (ESPANOL)

http://lahora.gt/investigan-allanamiento-casa-cadena/ (ESPANOL)

https://emisorasunidas.com/noticias/nacionales/investigan-supuesto-allanamiento-en-la-vivienda-de-ramon-cadena-director-de-la-cij/ (ESPANOL)

http://elperiodico.com.gt/2016/08/16/pais/hombres-armados-registran-vivienda-de-ramon-cadena/ (ESPANOL)

http://prensa-latina.cu/index.php?o=rn&id=20136&SEO=condenan-en-guatemala-intimidacion-contra-director-de-la-cij (ESPANOL)

http://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=e2946b8e-6af0-4892-ac4e-4fb6ff7e37a6 (ESPANOL)

http://lahora.gt/solidaridad-ramon-cadena/ (ESPANOL)

Guatemala: Francisco Palomo Tejeda, 63 ans, l’avocat de l’ancien chef de l’Etat Alfonso Portillo, abattu au sortir de son cabinet dans la capitale du Guatemala.

3 juin, 2015

El abogado Francisco Palomo Tejeda , de 63 años, murió baleado este medio día en un sector de la zona 9 capitalina, el ataque habría sido perpetrado por dos sujetos que se conducían en una moto. La esposa del abogado, Lucrecia de Palomo, reconoció el cadáver.

http://www.prensalibre.com/guatemala/comunitario/matan-al-abogado-francisco-palomo-en-la-zona-9

http://www.laprensasa.com/309_america-in-english/3146603_killing-of-rios-montt-s-lawyer-elevates-political-tension-in-guatemala.html (report in English)