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UA 72/92 - Guatemala: ill-treatment of street children: Karlo Antonio Contreras

, N° d'index: AMR 34/010/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/10/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 72/92 Ill-treatment of Street Children 27 February 1992
GUATEMALA Karlo Antonio CONTRERAS, aged 17
Amnesty International is concerned at the reported detention and subsequent ill-treatment
of street child Karlo Antonio Contreras on 24 February 1992, carried out by uniformed members
of the National Police.
According to eye-witnesses, seventeen-year-old street child Karlo Antonio Contreras was
with several other street children in the Barrajuste market of Zone 1 of Guatemala City
on 24 February 1992 when two uniformed members of the National Police approached, along
with two people in civilian clothes. The men approached two of the children and started
beating and accused them of stealing a pair of sunglasses. The children denied stealing
the sunglasses. The four men then turned their attention on Karlo Antonio Contreras and
grabbed him by the neck and accused him of stealing the sunglasses from one of the men
in plain clothes. They then began beating him and dragged him towards a grey two-door
car with California licence plates. When the other children tried to intervene, one of
the policemen took his gun out of its holster and threatened to fire at the children.
Karlo Contreras was then forced at gunpoint into the vehicle. He was taken to the General
Cemetery, in Zone 3 of Guatemala City,
where the policemen again beat him and demanded
that he return the sunglasses. They then abandoned him in the cemetery and left. Karlo
Contreras is said to be suffering from a split lower lip and has swelling on the left side
of his face as a result of the beatings he received.
In the past two years, Amnesty International has received an escalating number of reports
of human rights violations against street children in Guatemala City, including beatings,
torture, "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions, reportedly carried out by official
security force agents, particularly the police, acting sometimes in plain clothes and
sometimes in uniform. In other cases, abuses have been carried out by agents of private
security firms (see Guatemala: Extrajudicial Executions and Human Rights Violations against
Street Children, AMR 34/37/90 of August 1990, which documented many of these cases).
Approximately 62 legal suits against more than 50 members of the National Police are currently
pending with the Guatemalan courts and only in isolated cases have investigations resulted
in the prosecution of those responsible. Children who have witnessed or given information
concerning abuses directed against other street children have been subjected to reprisals,
and those working with street children have also been subjected to harassment and
intimidation. On 20 January 1992, Felipe González, aged 14 and José Corrado Mendoza, aged
18, were severely beaten by two unidentified men, and left bleeding and unconscious on
the pavement. Amnesty International was concerned at the alleged refusal of the National
Police to investigate the incident without an order from a judge, after unidentified persons
cleaned the blood stains from the pavement, thereby destroying potential incriminating
evidence. (See UA 30/92, AI Index: AMR 34/05/92, 27 January 1992)
In June 1990, the tortured bodies of four street children were found in
the Bosques de San Nicolás area, after they had been abducted and taken to the
General Cemetery. Two policemen were acquitted for their part in the murder
of the children. They remain in prison pending appeal.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the reported abduction and ill-treatment of Karlo Antonio
Contreras by uniformed members of the National Police;
- asking for an immediate and thorough investigation into the incident and that the results
be made public;
- asking that those found responsible for the incident be brought to justice;
- asking that immediate and adequate measures be taken to safeguard the physical integrity
of Karlo Contreras.
page 2 of UA 72/92
1) President:
S.E. Jorge Serrano Elías
Presidente de la República de Guatemala
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, Guatemala
Telegrams: Presidente Serrano, Guatemala,
Telexes: 5331 CAPRES GU
Faxes: + 502 2 537472; + 502 2 519702
Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente /
Dear President
2) Minister of the Interior:
Lic. Fernando Hurtado Prem
Ministro de Gobernación
Despacho Ministerial
Oficina No. 8, Primer Nivel
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, Guatemala
Telegrams: Ministro Gobernación,
Guatemala, Guatemala
Telexes: 5085 MINGOB GU
Faxes: + 502 2 518105
Salutation: Señor Ministro / Dear Minister
3) Director of National Police:
Lic Carlos Enrique Samayoa Cifuentes
Director General de la Policía Nacional
6 Avenida 13-71,
Zona-1, Guatemala,
Telegrams: Director Policía, Guatemala,
Salutation: Señor Director/ Dear Director
4) Attorney General:
Señor Acisclo Valladares
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General de la Nación
18 Calle 10-36
Zona 1, Guatemala, Guatemala
Telegrams: Procurador General, Guatemala,
Salutation: Señor Procurador General /
Dear Attorney General
Human Rights Procurator in charge of
Lic. Eunice Lima
Procuradora de Menores
Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos
Avenida Simeón Cañas, 10-61
Zona 2, Guatemala, Guatemala
Pro-children Commission of Congress:
Señor Presidente
Comisión Pro-Niñez
Congreso de la República
7ta Avenida y 9a Calle
Zona 1, Ciudad de Guatemala
Casa Alianza
Apartado Postal 2704
Guatemala, Guatemala
Siglo XXI (newspaper)
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 11 April 1992.

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