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UA 492/90 - Guatemala: extrajudicial executions: residents of Santiago Atitlan

, رقم الوثيقة: AMR 34/075/1990

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/75/90
Distr: UA/SC
UA 492/90 Extrajudicial Executions 5 December 1990
GUATEMALA: Residents of Santiago Atitlán
Amnesty International is gravely concerned at reports that soldiers at the
Panabaj military base at Santiago Atitlán, Sololá opened fire on a crowd of
unarmed people on the evening of 2 December, killing at least 15 villagers
including three minors, one of them aged 10, and wounding 19 others including
a number of children.
According to eyewitness reports, the events which culminated in the
killings began on the evening of 2 December 1990 when soldiers from the Panabaj
military base, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, broke into the home
of a local resident, Andrés Sapocú Jabuychán, and tried to rob him. When Sapo
Jabuychán resisted, the soldiers are said to have opened fire, killing or
wounding a child (according to some accounts, Sr. Sapocú Jabuychán was also
shot and he too may have been killed). When neighbours learned of the incident,
they reportedly rang the bells of the town church to summon other villagers.
Between 1500 and 2000 people are said to have gathered in the town square,
before converging on the Panabaj military base where they intended to protest
the incident. They were accompanied by the town's mayor who reportedly agreed
to participate only after he gained the group's agreement to his condition
that they carry only white flags.
Survivors of the incident who have been interviewed in hospital by local
human rights groups insist that the villagers were indeed peaceful and unarmed
when they arrived at the base at approximately 1am and asked to speak to the
commander. In response, soldiers at the base reportedly opened fire.
Amnesty International understands that the commander of the base was
removed from his position shortly after the shooting and that the official
now in command, Subteniente Julio César Andrino, has reportedly declined to
say whether the army had shot at the civilians, but did accuse the group of
trying to take over the barracks and of provoking the incident by opening fire
on the soldiers.
The government has issued a statement lamenting the incident and promising
an exhaustive inquiry into it.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Amnesty international does not condone the use of violence by demonstrators
in any circumstances, and is mindful of the need of soldiers to defend themselves
if attacked. However, numerous eyewitnesses interviewed by the press and both
Guatemalan and foreign human rights investigatory agencies have all concurred
that the villagers fired upon were peaceful and unarmed.
Over many years reports of human rights abuses by the army have been
received from the Santiago Atitlán area in the department of Sololá, where
there is an army base. According to foreigners living and travelling in the
area, it is now under strict military control.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- urging that the terms of reference and composition of the investigatory body,
that will carry out the inquiry promised by the government, be made immediately
public, that its findings be made known as soon as they are available;
2
- urging that any criminal acts found to have been committed be referred to
the tribunals;
- asking that the soldiers responsible for the shooting at the home of Sr.
Sapocú Jabuychán be identified and dealt with in accordance with the law;
- asking that steps be taken to ensure that all those injured in the attack
at the military base receive adequate medical care;
- seeking assurances that the physical integrity of all witnesses to both
incidents be guaranteed and that the relatives of the victims be offered
appropriate compensation.
APPEALS TO:
S.E. Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo
Presidente de la República de Guatemala
Palacio Nacional
Guatemala, Guatemala
Tel: +502 22 1212, +502 22 2266
Fax: +502 253 7472
Telex: 5331 CAPRES GU
Telegrams: Presidente Cerezo, Guatemala, Guatemala
Brig. Gral. Juan Leonel Bolaños
Ministro de Defensa
Ministerio de Defensa
Palacio Nacional
Guatemala, Guatemala
Tel: +502 22 1212, ext 2226
Fax: +502 253 7472
Telex: 5361 COMGUA GU
Telegrams: Ministro Defensa Bolanos, Guatemala, Guatemala
Gral. Roberto Enrique Mata Gálvez
Jefe del Estado Mayor de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Palacio Nacional
Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 253 7472
Telex: 5361 COMGUA GU
Telegrams: Jefe Estado Mayor, Guatemala, Guatemala
Gral. Gustavo Méndez Herrera
Comandante
Base Militar No. 14
Sololá, Sololá
GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Base Militar Solola, Solola, Guatemala
COPIES TO:
Lic. Ramiro de León Carpio
Procurador de Derechos Humanos
Avenida Simeón Cañas 10-61
Zona 2, Guatemala, Guatemala
3
Lic Factor Méndez Doninelli
CIEPRODH
Apartado Postal 419-1
Zona 7, 01907 Guatemala
Diario Siglo XXI
7a Avenida 11-79
Edificio Galerias España, 6o piso
Zona 9, Guatemala, Guatemala
and to diplomatic representatives of Guatemala in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 16 January 1991.

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