Friday, April 8, 2011

More repression in Honduras; (possible) (delayed) justice for Guatemalans

Repression and impunity continue in Honduras. Meanwhile, as in Argentina and Spain, there is some possible progress in Guatemala in bringing those responsible for human rights crimes to justice. As reported by UNREDACTED:
Judge Santiago Pedraz of the Spanish National Court* has issued an international arrest warrant for Jorge Sosa Orantes, the Guatemalan ex-Kaibil officer suspected of participation in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre that left more than 250 people dead, according to the Associated Press yesterday. Pedraz moved against Sosa as part of his investigation into Guatemalan genocide and other crimes against humanity in the case filed in Spain in 1999 by Nobel laureate and Guatemalan rights activist Rigoberta Menchú.

The arrest warrant was sent via Interpol on April 1 to authorities in Calgary, Canada, where Sosa has been detained since January on U.S. charges of lying on his citizenship application to the United States in 2008. Although Sosa’s defense lawyer asked in March that his client be released on bail, Judge Suzanne Bensler denied the request, saying Sosa had already proven himself a flight risk. Last September, as the U.S. was preparing to arrest Sosa for naturalization fraud, he fled his home in southern California, first to Mexico and then Canada.

It is not immediately clear how the Canadian government will respond to the Spanish arrest warrant. Sosa was scheduled to appear in a Calgary courtroom on April 20 for a hearing on his extradition to the United States. But Canada, like Spain, recognizes universal jurisdiction and could decide to open its own investigation into Sosa’s alleged role in the Dos Erres massacre. Meanwhile according to a prosecutor in the Guatemala attorney general’s office, the Public Ministry issued extradition requests last year for Sosa and three other ex-Kaibiles connected to Dos Erres who were located in the United States; the requests are still being examined by a Guatemalan court, however.
I don’t know if it would help for people in Alberta to take action, or if some already are – I’ll try to find out. Here’s more information from the National Security Archive about “the scorched earth operations that decimated hundreds of Mayan communities in the department of Quiché in Guatemala’s highlands during the early 1980s” and other crimes against humanity there. Genocidal policies and actions against indigenous communities, very much ongoing, have received far too little attention.

In writing my very first post here, I had come across this video, which I didn’t include at the time but will now:

*The Spanish government has its own problems, as the UN the other day spoke its disapproval of Spain’s human rights violating system of detention:
In Spain, people held in incommunicado detention may be deprived of effective access to a lawyer as well as access to a doctor of their own choice, and are unable to inform their family or friends of their detention. Incommunicado detention can be imposed both before and after the detainee is brought before a judicial authority.

In addition to the UN, other human rights organizations have pointed out that in this situation the detainees are deprived of their most basic rights and guarantees and are in optimal conditions to be victims of torture and ill-treatment, given the relative impunity with which the police and law enforcement bodies can act under these circumstances.
This and Spanish penal policy in general have long been condemned by international human rights organizations and numerous groups within the country.

No comments:

Post a Comment