5 Sentenced in Guatemalan Racism Case

April 8, 2005

GUATEMALA CITY (EFE) – AGuatemalan criminal court this week sentencedfive supporters of former dictatorEfraín Ríos Montt to 38 months of jail forverbally harassing indigenous leader andNobel Peace laureate Rigoberta Menchúwith racist epithets during the presidentialcampaign in 2003.The five subjects, including one congresswomanto the Central AmericanParliament, were found guilty of racial discrimination,threats and public disorder.The sentence marks the first time anyonehas been tried in Guatemala for racism.The five found guilty were also orderedto pay $660 each – compared to the$100,000 Menchú’s lawyers were askingfor. They can have their sentence commutedby paying a fine of $9.86 for each of the1,155 days they are sentenced to serve.MENCHÚ expressed her satisfactionwith the ruling, claiming it has set a judicialprecedent in the country.The five people found guilty have saidthey will appeal.

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