• Press Release

Guatemala: Amnesty International Condemns New Judgment Against Former Prosecutor Virginia Laparra

July 8, 2024

(Daniela Salamanca, Amnesty International)

Following the judgment issued today against Virginia Laparra Rivas, former prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (FECI), Ana Piquer, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“This is a mixed verdict.  While the judge did not impose the maximum sentence, which would have sent Virginia Laparra back to prison, he did declare her guilty when all she was doing was fulfilling her duties as an anti-corruption prosecutor.”  

A court in Quetzaltenango today found Virginia guilty of revealing confidential information, imposing a commutable sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 quetzales, and disqualifying her from holding public office for ten years. This is the second conviction against the former prosecutor in just 18 months. On 16 December 2022, a court in Guatemala City had already sentenced her to four years in prison in another unfounded criminal case.

Amnesty International has documented violations of Virginia Laparra’s right to a defence and pressure on her legal team in the two criminal processes against her. In a report published in May, the organization noted that the actions of the Judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office constituted a pattern of criminalization against justice operators, human rights defenders and journalists fighting against corruption and impunity.

In December 2022, Amnesty International declared Virginia Laparra a prisoner of conscience. The organization believes that she is still a prisoner of conscience as she continues to be subject to house arrest as an alternative to prison in another case.

“Today’s conviction is unfortunately yet another example of the political persecution by the Judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of those involved in efforts to fight corruption, and of the lack of due process guarantees for such persons. Amnesty International will continue to demand that all charges against former prosecutor Laparra be dropped,” added Ana Piquer.

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