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  HOME | Central America

Guatemala Court Orders Arrest of Politician Holed Up at Honduran Embassy

GUATEMALA CITY Ė A Guatemalan court on Monday ordered the arrest of opposition leader Alejandro Giammattei, now holed up at the Honduran Embassy in Tegucigalpa, on charges dating from his tenure as prisons chief during the previous administration.

A police spokesman told Efe that Giammattei is accused of abuse of authority, murder and extrajudicial execution.

Dozens of police have surrounded the Honduran Embassy, where Giammattei went last Thursday to apply for 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, who ran the prison system during the 2004-2008 administration of President Oscar Berger, has been under investigation by the U.N.-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, or Cicig, for the deaths of seven inmates in a 2006 crackdown at the Pavon prison farm.

A report from the Guatemalan national ombudís office concluded the inmates were executed by the security forces, while Giammattei said they died in clashes with police.

Two former cops and a serving police officer who took part in the Pavon crackdown were apprehended Monday by Cicig investigators and agents from the Guatemalan Attorney Generalís Office.

Also taken into custody were Mario Roberto Garcia, an adviser to Giammattei during his tenure as prisons director, and two siblings of former deputy police director Javier Figueroa, for whom an arrest warrant was also issued.

Giammattei can only be arrested if the Honduran government rejects his asylum bid and expels him from the embassy. EFE
 

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