Guatemala. Lawyers for former prosecutor Virginia Laparra appeal the sentence against her

By Regina Pérez, Latin American Summary, January 11, 2023.

Virginia Laparra’s lawyers filed an appeal once morest the sentence that sentenced her to four commutable years in prison for abuse of authority, so that a Chamber might review Judge Oly González’s sentence and acquit the former prosecutor. Currently, Laparra continues in pretrial detention, for a second case once morest her, which is open in the city of Quetzaltenango.

The defense lawyers of the former head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office once morest Impunity (FECI) in Quetzaltenango, Virginia Laparra, filed a special appeal once morest the sentence of Judge Oly González, of the Eighth Court, who sentenced her last December to four years commutable prison terms for abuse of authority on a continuous basis.

The appeal was presented in the Second Chamber of the Court of Appeals so that the magistrates of this body review the merits of the judge’s sentence of December 16, because for the defense what was done by Virginia, presenting four complaints once morest a judge, is not constitutive of crime. With this they seek the Chamber to resolve and acquit the ex-prosecutor.

“The judge indicated that it was an abuse of authority because she (Virginia) did not have the power to file complaints, which is not established in the law because she limited herself to making an interpretation of article 251 that empowers prosecutors to strictly comply of the law and that means filing complaints once morest corrupt judges,” said lawyer Claudia González at a press conference on January 10.

According to the defense, Laparra was empowered to present administrative complaints protected by the Political Constitution and the Organic Law of the Public Ministry (MP).

In addition, the lawyers hope that the Chamber will consider the means of proof that were rejected by the judge, such as the documentation of more than 200 complaints that prosecutors have filed once morest judges and those who have not been persecuted or prosecuted, as is the case of Laparra.

They also ensure that the resolution of appeals can take more than a year and this might be the case of Laparra. The Second Chamber is made up of judges Eduardo Galván, Gustavo Adolfo Dubón and Roaldo Isaías Chávez. In the case of Chávez, he has heard preliminary proceedings relating to former judges Érika Aifán and Miguel Ángel Gálvez.

Show support for Virginia Laparra

Together with the lawyers, human rights defenders, organizations and indigenous women, they expressed their solidarity with Laparra, among them the defender of water, Bernardo Caal, who, like the former prosecutor, was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

José Manuel Martínez, from Alianza por Reformas, indicated that the Laparra case is riddled with irregularities and it is due to the fact that justice is co-opted by the mafias that seek to guarantee impunity.

Martínez contrasted the case of the former prosecutor with that of Manuel Baldizón, former presidential candidate of the extinct Libertad Democrática Renovada (LIDER) party, who is facing proceedings in the Odebrecht case and on January 9 received substitute measures, despite the fact that he was a fugitive.

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“People like Manuel Baldizón are being given the benefits so that he can be released while the cases of those who fought once morest corruption are riddled with irregularities because what they want is to send a signal that in this country no one can confront the powerful who they leave without public resources and make the State a business”, he indicated.

Laparra will remain in pretrial detention

Currently, the former prosecutor is in pretrial detention for the new case reactivated once morest her by the Public Ministry (MP), due to another complaint by former judge Castellanos, who points out that she had revealed information regarding a case that was under reserve. This complaint was filed in 2018 and had been dismissed, however, in October 2022 the former prosecutor was informed that she had a new arrest warrant.

For this process, a hearing was held on January 3 in Quetzaltenango, which Laparra’s defense points out, was full of irregularities. According to the lawyer Wendy López, Judge Carmen Acú exceeded her duties and found out regarding other situations that were beyond her jurisdictional control, since she had been challenged so that she did not hear the case, since Castellanos had been an adviser on her thesis. doctoral.

López said that in said hearing the hatred and machismo of the plaintiffs Omar Barrios and Lesther Castellanos was evident, who showed total disrespect for the parties to the process, laughing and mocking the defense of Virginia Laparra and the former prosecutor. In addition, the same lawyer was removed from the room by the judge, at the request of the complainants and the case was declared confidential.

Virginia Laparra was sentenced on December 16 to four commutable prison terms for continuous abuse of authority, following a complaint once morest her by former judge Castellanos, now rapporteur once morest Torture, whom she denounced four times when she was chief of the FECI in Quetzaltenango.

The former prosecutor will remain in prison indefinitely until the new process once morest her is resolved, although her defense announced that she will present reviews of the case before the Second Chamber, seeking that she can be released, with substitute measures.

Fuente: Community Press

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