Despite Outrage, Guatemala Continues to Bulldoze Anti-Corruption Edifice

Alex Papadovassilakis writes in InSight Crime on the sacking of Juan Francisco Sandoval last week from his post as head of FECI, Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity, and after-shocks.

The dismissal of Juan Francisco Sandoval, the country’s leading anti-corruption prosecutor, marks the formal end of efforts to strengthen anti-corruption bodies in Guatemala.

On July 23, Attorney General Consuelo Porras fired Sandoval as head of the country’s Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (Fiscalía Especial contra la Impunidad – FECI), an investigative unit that was set up with international assistance and spearheaded the country’s most high-profile corruption investigations. Sandoval has since fled the country.

In a statement released by the Attorney General’s Office, Porras cited “humiliations” and a “lack of confidence in the relationship” as reasons for Sandoval’s dismissal but did not provide further detail.

The backlash came swiftly. On July 24, hundreds of protesters took to the streets across the country in anger at the decision. In Guatemala City’s Constitution Square and outside the Attorney General’s Office, people carried signs demanding Porras’ resignation, as well as that of President Alejandro Giammattei.

There was also rapid international concern at the dismissal. In the United States, Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter that: “We stand with the people of Guatemala and with Prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval.”

Washington had sent many covert and overt signals of its support for Sandoval. Last February, for instance, Sandoval was named an Anticorruption Champion by the United States government.

It didn’t matter. According to official documents cited in elPeriódico, Sandoval was dismissed for having opposed Porras’ decision days earlier to transfer a FECI prosecutor to another unit and replace him with a prosecutor accused of obstructing justice.

You can read the full article, including links, here Despite Outrage, Guatemala Continues to Bulldoze Anti-Corruption Edifice.

Categories: Corruption, Guatemala, Human Rights, Impunity, Justice, Legal, Lobbying, Solidarity in Action

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