PBI-Guatemala accompanies the #CasoDiarioMilitar as first statement hearings continue
Image by Telesur.
On July 1, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted on Facebook: “PBI accompanies the #CasoDiarioMilitar.”
That post included text from Famdegua (the Association of Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared of Guatemala) that noted: “Judge Miguel Angel Gálvez postpones hearing for tomorrow, July 2, 9:00 am, when the Public Ministry will continue to charge against Juan Francisco Cifuentes Cano and Eliseo Barrios Soto.”
Canal Antigua further reports: “The judge decided to suspend the first-test hearing for retired military officer Mavilo Aurelio Castaneda, so that it can be verified whether his health condition allows him to face criminal proceedings in the Diario Militar case.”
“This Thursday [July 1] it was intended to start the hearing of first statement for 3 retired military personnel involved in the Diario Militar case accused of crimes of enforced disappearance, duties against humanity and murder.”
“However, the defense of Mavilo Aurelio Castañeda, indicated that this could not be done, since his sponsor suffers from memory loss which makes him unable to face trial, so the judge of greater risk B, Miguel Ángel Gálvez proceeded to suspend the hearing.”
That article adds: “Castañeda has been ordered to have the necessary medical examinations to determine what his real state of health is and thus determine if he can face the process. Meanwhile for Juan Francisco Cifuentes Cano and Eliseo Barrios Soto, the hearing continues, so the Public Prosecutor’s Office has proceeded to charge the respective facts.”
Eleven former military and police officers were arrested on May 27 and a twelfth was arrested when he appeared in court.
Prensa Libre has explained: “These are former military personnel accused of having participated in the disappearance, torture and death of at least 183 people during the years 1983 to 1985, including trade union and student leaders.”
PBI-Guatemala accompanied the seven days of hearings for the first six defendants in the Military Journal Case. On June 9, all six defendants were indicted for crimes against humanity, and five of them were indicted for forced disappearance. They all also stand accused of murder, attempted murder or both, for the killings.
PBI-Guatemala also accompanied the four days of hearings that resulted in the indictment of former Defense Minister Marco Antonio González Taracena on June 25.
PBI-Guatemala began to accompany BDH lawyer Édgar Pérez Archila in August 2010 due to several security incidents he had faced in relation to the high-profile judicial processes he was working on. At the end of 2013, PBI-Guatemala extended the accompaniment to the other lawyers of the BDH who work in high-profile trials to fight against impunity and in defending criminalized human rights defenders.