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Guatemala Closes Probe into Murder of Salvadorans

July 20, 2007

GUATEMALA CITY – The Guatemalan Prosecutor’s Office this week said that the case of the Feb. 19 murder of three Salvadoran lawmakers and their driver in Guatemala was “resolved and closed,” though no motive or identity of the masterminds behind the crime was ever clarified.

Prosecutor Juan Luis Florido said Guatemalan authorities had concluded their investigation into the case and the courts will now try the accused gunmen.

“The murder suspects are already under arrest,” Florido said. “Having them is an enormous percentage. I’m sure that we’re going to get a conviction.”

The prosecutor said he regretted neither identifying nor capturing the masterminds behind the crime nor having established the motive for the deed, but he emphasized that

“as far as we’re concerned, the case is closed.”

The charred bodies of the Salvadoran lawmakers to the Central American Parliament, Eduardo D’Aubuisson,William Pichinte and José Ramon Gónzalez, as well as that of Gerardo Ramírez, who was serving as their bodyguard and driver, were found last February in a rural community in eastern Guatemala. Several days later, authorities captured four officers with Guatemala’s National Civilian Police, whom the Prosecutor’s Office said were the perpetrators of the brutal killings.

The investigation into the murders was complicated Feb. 25, when the jailed officers were murdered inside a maximum security prison, allegedly by jailed gang members recruited behind bars (NT,March 2).

Prison inmates disputed that claim, saying they saw heavily armed men in uniform enter the prison and shoot the four cops.

Weeks later, the security forces captured five alleged members of a band of drug traffickers who operated in the Jutiapa province, on the border with El Salvador, whom they said participated in the original crime.

Also arrested was another police officer, Marvin Contreras, who allegedly was involved in the killings of the Salvadorans with the four murdered officers.

Two other Guatemalan police officers linked to the crime and considered “key figures” by the Prosecutor’s Office, are fugitives.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations helped with the investigation.

 

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