Attempts to Interfere with High Profile Trial in GuatemalaJuly 5, 2016
Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action in response to the June 21 raid of Impunity Watch’s office in Guatemala. Three armed men forced their way into the office and then blindfolded the organization’s secretary and covered her mouth with duct tape before ransacking the files.
The Dutch NGO has been assisting the family of Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, the victim of an enforced disappearance in 1981. It’s offices were raided two days before the scheduled start of a trial against four high-ranking retired military officers for this crime.
Marco Antonio was abducted by soldiers searching for his sister, Emma, who had recently escaped from a military base where she had been held and tortured. She had been previously arrested, tortured, and raped in 1976.
The defendants have been accused of involvement in organized crime and drug trafficking. One of the retired officers was involved in the military coup the brought José Efraín Ríos Montt to power in 1982. Some of the worst human rights violations during the Guatemalan civil war took place during his rule.
A pro-military FaceBook page has published Emma’s testimony in this case, which was supposed to be available only to the parties in the trial. Releasing it at this stage of the trial was illegal.
These attempts to interfere with the Molina Theissen case come six months after the historic conviction of four former military officers for the sexual abuse and domestic enslavement of eleven indigenous women during the civil war. A conviction of those found to be responsible for the disappearance of Marco Antonio Molina Theissen would be another important step towards ending impunity for the widespread human rights abuses that occurred during the conflict.
Please take action to tell the Guatemalan government to protect Impunity Watch and to fully and impartially investigate the raid of the organization’s office.