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UA 98/94 - Guatemala: fear for safety: Yolanda Perez Ruiz

, N° d'index: AMR 34/013/1994

There is concern for the safety of Judge Yolanda Perez Ruiz, of the Second Court of Instruction in the Department of Chimaltenango. According to reports, on 11 February 1994, an unidentified man took photographs of the Chimaltenango court and its staff. On 18 February Judge Perez received an anonymous phone call informing her that she would be kidnapped. These attempts at intimidation continued with a bomb threat in the court on 25 February, and continuous surveillance by unknown men. This intimidation apparently stems from her work on the case of Jose Mercedes Similox Telon.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/13/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 98/94 Fear for Safety 11 March 1994
GUATEMALA Yolanda PÉREZ RUIZ, Judge (f)
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Judge Yolanda Pérez Ruiz,
of the Second Court of Instruction in the Department of Chimaltenango, following
threats and other acts of intimidation against her.
According to reports, on 11 February 1994 an unidentified man took photographs
of the staff and the buildings of the Chimaltenango court; on 18 February,
Judge Pérez received an anonymous phone call informing her that she would be
kidnapped. These attempts at intimidation continued with a bomb threat in
the court on 25 February and the court is reportedly under continuous
surveillance by unknown men.
The intimidation of Judge Pérez apparently stems from her work on the case
of José Mercedes Similox Telón. In order to serve a writ of habeas corpus
filed on his behalf on 3 February 1994, the Judge went to the Military Zone
302, where he was being held. She was accompanied by a number of other
officials, among them two members of the Human Rights Procurator's office and
another officer from the Chimaltenango court. An officer of the military base
instructed one of his subordinates to respond to the writ of habeas corpus
and produce José Similox Telón.
After waiting some time, Judge Pérez went to the courtyard of the base where
two officers and some soldiers reportedly demanded a written order and prevented
her from entering the buildings. They also declined to give any information
on José Similox Telón. Accordingly, the judge informed them of the legal
consequences of obstructing a writ of habeas corpus and then left.
There is no indication why this case in particular should have led to the
intimidation of Judge Pérez.
On 8 February, an article reportedly appeared in the Guatemalan media entitled
"Court Hearing and Removal of Judge Being Planned". A few days later President
Ramiro de León Carpio appeared on television and reportedly supported the
proposed dismissal of Judge Yolanda Pérez.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
On 6 June 1993 Ramiro de León Carpio, former Human Rights Procurator, was voted
President by Congress to serve out the remaining term of ex-President Serrano.
The latter had been forced from office after trying to seize near-dictatorial
powers on 25 May 1993. When President de León Carpio came to power there were
expectations that he might be able to improve the human rights situation, due
to his former role as Human Rights Procurator. However, since he assumed
office, human rights violations including threats and intimidation have
continued. Trade unionists, journalists, human rights activists and members
of the judiciary are among those who have suffered such abuses.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the threats and acts of intimidation against Judge
2
Yolanda Pérez Ruiz and urging the government to take immediate measures to
guarantee her safety;
- asking for an investigation into these acts and that those responsible be
brought to justice;
APPEALS TO:
1) President of the Republic:
S.E. Ramiro de León Carpio
Presidente de la República de Guatemala
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Presidente de León Carpio, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 347 364
Telexes: 5331 CAPRES GU
Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente /Dear President
2) Minister of Interior:
Lic. Adolfo Reyes Calderón
Ministro de Gobernación
Ministerio de Gobernación
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Ministro de Gobernación, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 518 105
Telexes: 5085 MINGOB
Salutation: Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister
3) Minister of Defence:
Gral. Mario Enríquez Morales
Ministro de Defensa
Ministerio de Defensa
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Ministro de Defensa, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 21906
Telexes: 5361 COMGUA GU
Salutation: Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Human Rights Procurator:
Lic. Jorge García Laguardia
Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
12 Avenida 12-72, Zona 1,
Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Faxes: + 502 2 81734
Attorney General:
Lic. Telesforo Guerra Cahn
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General de la Nación
18 C 10-36, Zona 1
Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Faxes: + 502 2 500 076
Archbishop's Human Rights Office
Oficina de Derechos Humanos del
Arzobispado de Guatemala (ODHAG)
Apartado Postal 723
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Guatemala, Guatemala
and to diplomatic representatives of Guatemala accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 22 April 1994.

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