Spanish Embassy Case Nearing Close

On October 1, 2014, 34 years after the deadly fire that killed 37 protesters, diplomats, and others, Guatemalan judges for the first time convened to consider the culpability of a state actor in the notorious 1980 siege of the Spanish embassy. Prosecutors have presented its case against Pedro García Arredondo, the former commander of a notorious police investigative unit.

Included among its witness statements, the written declaration of Odette Arzu, a now-deceased Red Cross volunteer who was present during the occupation of the Spanish embassy in Guatemala City in 1980 recalled that when then Ambassador Máximo Cajal fled the building after the fire started, she heard a voice from a police radio saying: “Kill him, they don’t want anybody alive” (Matenlo—que no quieren nadie vivo).

The International Justice Monitor has been following the case and you can read a background to the case here and here, and the latest here.

Categories: Indigenous peoples, Justice


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