The former head of the Prosecutor’s Office against Guatemala corruptionStuart Campos, denounced this friday that he was arrested on a “spurious” accusation of “abuse of authority and breach of duty”, in a new arrest case of a justice operator, which was confirmed by the authorities.
Local television showed the former official being transferred to the judiciary with shackles on his wrists and, while walking escorted by agents, he stated before the cameras that he is accused of “abuse of authority and breach of duty.”
It is, he added, “a spurious complaint filed by the (right-wing) Foundation Against Terrorism (FCT), which has systematically dedicated itself to the persecution of justice operators.”
Former anti-corruption prosecutor Stuardo Campos is transferred to the court tower after his capture this morning. He confirms that he was denounced by the Fundación Contra el Terrorismo, implicated in the captures of other justice operators such as Virginia Laparra. pic.twitter.com/pR08UCr33q
— Non-Fiction (@noficiongt) May 26, 2023
The US described the FCT as “an NGO known for targeting human rights defenders and anti-corruption (fighters).
The prosecutor’s office confirmed Campos’ arrest to AFP, without specifying the charges against him.
At the moment, the only information I have in this regard is that agents of the National Civil Police apprehended him,” said the spokesman for the Public Ministry (MP, Prosecutor’s Office), Moisés Ortiz.
Campos thus becomes the most recent justice operator arrested during the administration of Attorney General Consuelo Porras, sanctioned by the United States, in a series of arrests that has generated criticism from the international community.
Last year, the head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI) in Quetzaltenango (Osset), Virgina Laparra, was arrested and sentenced to four commutable years in prison.
In addition, among those persecuted is the former chief general of the FECI, Juan Francisco Sandoval, who was removed from office in 2021 after investigating President Alejandro Giammattei for alleged corruption.
Sandoval went into exile in the United States, a country that considers him an “anti-corruption champion.”
All the unionized worked together with the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig)a UN entity that between 2007 and 2019 disrupted state corruption networks.
Campos was head of the prosecutor’s office in charge of prosecuting corruption until 2021. Then he was removed by Porras to the smuggling of migrants prosecutor’s office.
Cicig abruptly withdrew from the country in 2019, when then-President Jimmy Morales (2016-2020) refused to extend the entity’s mandate by two years.
For Edie Cux, director of the onege Acción Ciudadana, the local chapter of Transparency International, now justice “is co-opted by powerful groups” that have reversed their roles, because “those who fought corruption are now the persecuted.”
The concern extends to the field of freedom of expression in the country.
The owner of the opposition newspaper elPeriódico, José Rubén Zamora, was arrested and could face up to 20 years in prison accused of money laundering. In addition, eight journalists and columnists for the newspaper who published about corruption in the country are under investigation on charges of obstructing justice.
Four candidates for the Presidency, three of them with strong chances of winning in the elections on June 25, were excluded by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for various reasons.
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This Friday precisely, the Constitutional Court (CC), the country’s highest judicial instance, confirmed the temporary exclusion from the elections of businessman Carlos Pineda, who led several polls of voting intentions.
With information from EuropaPress