Guatemalan Supreme Court justice commits suicide

April 10, 2014

GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan Supreme Court Justice César Barrientos, known for revoking dozens of death penalty sentences in a single year, committed suicide Sunday, reportedly shooting himself in the head.

Relatives said the incident occurred as Barrientos rode in the back of his car with two bodyguards, in the southwestern town of San Francisco Zapotitlán, according to local media.

“I confirm that he arrived [at the hospital] with a shot to the temple, but later died of the wound,” fellow Justice Héctor Manfredo Maldonado told the state-run Guatemalan News Agency, known as AGN.

In 2012, the Supreme Court’s criminal chamber, led by Barrientos, revoked 53 death-penalty sentences on the ground that they violated prisoners’ “due process” and replaced them with 50-year prison sentences, the maximum allowed in the country.

The Guatemalan daily Prensa Libre reported that Barrientos attempted suicide a few months ago.

Barrientos “spent most of his career working on justice issues and strengthening the Guatemalan legal framework, encouraging and directing major reforms in this sector,” the U.S. Embassy said in a Spanish-language statement.

Human rights activists also expressed their regrets.

Police and prosecutors are investigating the death.

You may be interested

Give green in Costa Rica: holiday gifts that will live on all year
Environment and Wildlife
831 views
Environment and Wildlife
831 views

Give green in Costa Rica: holiday gifts that will live on all year

Ed Bernhardt - December 16, 2017

A warm holiday greeting from the garden to all our readers. Another year has come to an end, and it’s…

Honduran opposition protesters take to the streets
Central America
1634 views
Central America
1634 views

Honduran opposition protesters take to the streets

Noe Leiva / AFP - December 15, 2017

Supporters of the leftist opposition in Honduras blocked streets in various cities around that country on Friday, despite political repression,…

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada
Please Send Coffee!
2433 views
Please Send Coffee!
2433 views

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada

Gustavo Díaz Cruz - December 14, 2017

My mom named me Gustavo Adolfo. I was born in Puntarenas, next to the sea, but my home was in…