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HomeCentral AmericaGuatemalaAmnesty International Alarmed by Persecution of Female Justice Officials in Guatemala

Amnesty International Alarmed by Persecution of Female Justice Officials in Guatemala

Amnesty International (AI) described this Thursday as “alarming” the persecution suffered by female justice operators and human rights defenders in Guatemala who fight against impunity and corruption. For Ana Piquer, AI’s director for the Americas, the local Public Ministry (MP, Prosecutor’s Office) and the Judiciary (OJ) “have implemented a perverse strategy of unfounded criminal persecution and intimidation” against this group.

With this plan, “they give free rein, with total indifference and impunity, to discrimination and gender-based violence against women,” Piquer lamented in a statement.

Several lawyers who worked with the prosecutor’s office, courts, and a defunct UN commission against impunity and corruption in the country were persecuted and imprisoned in recent years.

Some 30 justice operators and journalists live in exile after the judicial hunt led by the controversial Attorney General, Consuelo Porras, sanctioned by the United States and the European Union for considering her “corrupt,” and whom the current President Bernardo Arévalo seeks to remove but lacks the legal authority.

Piquer affirmed that “the pattern of continuous harassment through the abuse of the criminal system to repress and dismantle the fight against corruption and impunity incorporates various forms of discrimination and gender-based violence that expose criminalized women to double punishment.”

The persecution is through “unfounded charges presented in criminal proceedings without the guarantees of a fair trial,” she lamented. “These actions constitute a pattern of criminalization and harassment that, in turn, constitute human rights violations attributable to the MP and the OJ,” she maintained.

According to the statement, the report was based on interviews and the analysis of a dozen cases, exposing the characteristics of this pattern and the impacts of these illegitimate practices under international law.

The report recounts in detail the stories of an exiled former judge, the former prosecutor and prisoner of conscience Virginia Laparra, two former deputy prosecutors, and the legal representative of the dissolved UN commission, in prison.

“All subjected to unfair processes only for having performed legitimate functions within the criminal justice system,” it asserts. “Instead of being protected, these women are exposed to additional punishment only for having dared to confront impunity and traditionally established gender roles,” Piquer pointed out.

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