PBI-Guatemala accompanies lawyers at hearing on Hogar Seguro fire that killed 41 young women

Published by Brent Patterson on

On April 26, PBI-Guatemala posted: “PBI accompanies the lawyers of the Human Rights Law Firm in a hearing of the Hogar Seguro (Safe Home) Case. The accused PNC officer requests a change in her coercive measures.”

Forty-one young women, who were 14 to 17 years of age, died as a result of a fire at the state-run Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asuncion shelter south-east of Guatemala City on March 8, 2017. Fifteen girls were also seriously injured in the fire.

By November 2017, The Guardian reported: “Initially, three people – the former minister of social welfare, his deputy and the director of the shelter – were charged with negligent homicide, abuse of power and mistreatment of minors. In June, three government officials and two police officers were also charged.”

EFE has also reported: “At least eight people including police officers and authorities have been charged with the deaths of minors.”

And CNN has reported that five are accused of breach of duties, wrongful death, mistreatment of minors and wrongful injuries.

One of those is Lucinda Marroquín, the former deputy inspector of the National Civil Police, is accused of not opening the locked room for 9 minutes after the fire started.

That CNN article adds that Santos Torres, the former director of Hogar Seguro, also faces five criminal charges, including abuse and homicide.

Tweet from today:

#CasoHogarSeguro The deputy inspector of the PNC Lucinda Marroquín, who according to @MPguatemala [Public Ministry] took 9 minutes to open the door of the burned classroom in #HogarSeguro of #Guatemala where 41 girls died, will try to be released today. She has been in preventive detention since 2017.”

Conditions at the shelter

Al Jazeera has reported: “Some of the victims of the March 8, 2017 fire in the Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asuncion shelter had run away from home, fleeing abuse and sexual assault by relatives. But many faced more of the same inside the shelter.”

That article adds: “For years, girls reported being raped and forced into prostitution inside the state-run facility, but their protests were ignored.”

The Guardian has further noted: “More than 700 children lived at the home, which had capacity for 400-500.”

Accompaniment

PBI-Guatemala has accompanied Human Rights Law Firm lawyer Edgar Pérez since August 2010 and then extended that accompaniment to the other lawyers at the firm in 2013.


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