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Guatemala: Fear for safety: Julio Eduardo Arango Escobar

, N° d'index: AMR 34/017/1999

Amnesty International is concern for the safety of the Human Rights Procurator of Guatemala, Julio Eduardo Arango Escobar, who has recently received death theats against him and his family.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 34/17/99
UA 109/99 Fear for safety 14 May 1999
GUATEMALAJulio Eduardo Arango Escobar, Human Rights Procurator
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of the Human Rights Procurator
of Guatemala, Julio Eduardo Arango Escobar, who has recently received death
threats against him and his family.
According to reports, on one day alone, 11 April 1999, around 40 threatening
phone calls were made to his home. During one call, a child's voice asked for
his daughter-in-law, who was then told “Vamos a matar a tu suegro” “We are
going to kill your father-in-law.” The Procurator said he has periodically
been receiving threats for a long time, but that since last week they had been
He believes that these threats may be being orchestrated by government
intelligence services, who are, he said, experts in psychological warfare.
Guatemala was the first country in Latin America to introduce a Procuraduría
(Procurator’s Office),having provided for such an office in its 1985
Constitution. The procurator is elected every five years by the Congress and
is mandated to defend the human rights guaranteed in the Constitution, monitor
the actions of the executive branch of government with respect to human rights
issues and make an annual report on human rights matters.
Julio Arango Escobar was elected in August 1997. During his period in office
he has published several reports criticising actions taken by the President
and his advisors. He has expressed particular concern about the investigation
into the murder of Bishop Juan José Gerardi, whose killers have not been brought
to justice one year after his death (see UA 139/98, 1 May 1998, AMR 34/16/908
and follow-ups)
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Spanish or your own language:
-expressing concern at the recent death threats directed at the Human Rights
Procurator Julio Eduardo Arango Escobar, and urging the authorities to take
all necessary steps to guarantee his safety;
-urging the authorities to investigate these threats and bring those responsible
to justice;
-urging the authorities to ensure that Julio Eduardo Arango Escobar can freely
and openly perform his legitimate duties as Human Rights Procurator;
- as the threats to the Human Rights Procurator are a serious challenge to
all human rights defenders in Guatemala, please also try and arrange messages
to the Guatemalan authorities in the name of your Section as a whole, signed
by the Section director. Also try and interest prominent authorities or
personalities in your country in protesting against this attack on human rights
protection in Guatemala.
President of the Republic
S.E. Alvaro Arzú Irigoyen
Presidente de la República de Guatemala
6ª Calle y 7ª Avenida, Zona 1
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Faxes: +502 221 4537
Telegrams: Presidente, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Salutation: Sr. Presidente/Dear President
E-mail: AlvaroArzu@guate.net / alvaroarzu@guateconnect.com
Minister of Interior
Lic. Rodolfo Mendoza Rosales
Ministro de Gobernación, Ministerio de Gobernación
Despacho Ministerial, Of. Nº 8,
6ª Calle y 7ª Avenida, Zona 1, Palacio Nacional
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Faxes: +502 232 1207/ 362 0239
Telegrams: Ministro de Gobernación, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
Human Rights Procurator:
Lic. Julio Eduardo Arango Escobar
Procurador de Derechos Humanos
Procaduría de los Derechos Humanos
12 Avenida 12-72, Zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala , Guatemala
Faxes:+ 502 2535712 / 238 1734 / 251 7769
Daily newspaper:
Diario Prensa Libre
13 Calle 9-31, Zona l
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Faxes:+ 502 251 8768
Salutation: Estimados Señores/Dear Sirs
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 25 June 1999.

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