Former Guatemalan Officials Charged with Killings
GUATEMALA CITY – A Guatemalan court issued international arrest warrants for three former senior officials in connection with at least 10 extrajudicial executions, the judiciary said Wednesday, Aug. 11.
Erstwhile Interior Minister Carlos Vielman, National Police Chief Erwin Sperisen, and Deputy Director of Investigations Javier Figueroa all served in the 2004-2008 administration of conservative President Oscar Berger.
All three are believed to be living outside the country.
The U.N.-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, known as Cicig, says they were part of a conspiracy to summarily kill prison inmates.
The current case involves the killings of at least 10 inmates in 2005-2006.
Figueroa, who left Guatemala in March 2007, is reported by the Guatemalan press to be living in Austria, while Sperisen departed in April 2008 to settle in Sweden.
Vielman resides in Spain. Cicig said Tuesday that Figueroa, Sperisen, Vielman and former Prison Services Director Alejandro Giammattei were part of a criminal structure created within the Interior Ministry and National Police during the first year of the Berger administration.
“This structure,” according to Cicig, engaged in “offenses of murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping, extortion, and drug theft, among others.”
Six alleged members of the conspiracy were arrested Monday, Aug. 9 for the deaths of seven inmates in 2006 at the Pavón prison farm.
The men were executed during a joint military-police operation to wrest control of Pavón away from inmate gangs, an operation Cicig says the conspirators used to eliminate criminal rivals being held at the prison farm.
One of the accused in that case, Giammattei, remains holed up at the Honduran Embassy in Guatemala City, where he went Thursday, Aug. 5 to seek asylum in the neighboring Central American country.
The 2007 presidential candidate of the conservative Gran Alianza Nacional sought refuge at the Honduran mission because he feared an attempt on life, according to Giammattei spokesman Herbert Chavez. Giammattei can only be arrested if the Honduran government rejects his asylum bid and expels him from the embassy.
You may be interested
A washing machine ocean and a city of sin at the Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro 2018 in JacóManuel Martínez - October 14, 2018
One of the things I like most about surfing is the constant change. You’ll be surfing the best waves of…
A look back at our 5 questions for Costa Rican photographer Ivannia AlvaradoElizabeth Lang - October 14, 2018
Our Weekend Arts Spotlight feature has profiled a lot of artists and gone through several changes throughout the years. One…
Heavy rains hit Costa Rica: two dead, one missing; another tropical wave expected to hit tomorrow, red alerts issuedAlexander Villegas - October 13, 2018
Two people died and one is missing after a tropical wave and heavy rains swept through Costa Rica late this…