Amnesty International Press Release
For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Amnesty International Demands Former Guatemalan Officials Face Trial for
Contact: AIUSA media relations office, 202-509-8194
(Washington, D.C.) — Former high-ranking Guatemalan officials accused of involvement in the extrajudicial executions of prisoners should face prosecution in fair trials, Amnesty International said after the arrest of former Interior Minister Carlos Vielman in Spain on Wednesday.
“These former officials must be returned to Guatemala to face justice or should be brought to trial in their countries of residence, in line with international human rights norms,” said Sebastian Elgueta, Central America researcher at Amnesty International.
Vielman and former National Director of Police Erwin Sperisen, who is currently resident in Switzerland, and other former officials are being investigated over the killings of prisoners held at two prisons in Guatemala in 2005 and 2006.
Vielman, Sperisen and others are accused of involvement in extrajudicial executions of inmates, who escaped from El Infiernito prison in October 2005, as well as the extrajudicial executions of prisoners in the El Pavón prison in September 2006, and other crimes. Seven inmates were killed during Operación Pavo Real (Operation Peacock), which was organized to retake control of El Pavón prison.
The Interior Ministry and the police said at the time that they had been killed during confrontations with the prison authorities. However, a report of the Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office in December 2006 concluded they had been shot and extrajudicially executed.
“It is now time to for those states where these individuals are resident to prove their commitment to international human rights standards,” said Elgueta. “Unless such crimes are punished, impunity will prevail in Guatemala.”
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
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