FBI to aid Guatemala probe of slain lawyer

May 8, 2009

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – The U.S. ambassador to Guatemala said Wednesday that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) will assist in a probe of the slaying of a prominent lawyer who, in a widely viewed video recorded before his death, blamed his eventual killing on Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom and other officials.

Ambassador Stephen McFarland told the press that an FBI agent arrived Wednesday to collaborate with the International Commission Against Impunity in an investigation of the death of the lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg, a case that has divided the nation.

Sources from Guatemala´s Chief Prosecutor´s Office said the Bureau detective will “collaborate specifically in matters of ballistics and the crime scene,” as well as aiding “in the scientific analysis of the video,” according to the newswire EFE.

Colom has vehemently denied the allegation, and called on the United Nations and the FBI to investigate Rosenberg´s killing.

Rosenberg, 47, who was shot dead on Sunday, is shown on a video alleging that Colom ordered him dead.

“My name is Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano, and unfortunately, if you are watching this message, it´s because I was assassinated by President Alvaro Colom, with the help of (the president´s private secretary) Gustavo Alejos and (his associate) Gregorio Valdez,” said Rosenberg in a video repeatedly broadcast on television, blogs and video networking site YouTube.

Rosenberg added that his client Khalil Musa, who was shot dead along with his daughter Marjorie Musa, was targeted because he was going to reveal government corruption.

The video has sparked a public outcry in Guatemala, where thousands of people took the streets Wednesday, some shouting for Colom to resign and others counter-protesting in defense of the Guatemalan leader.

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