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Guatemala: Further information on death penalty: Manuel Martinez Coronado

, N° d'index: AMR 34/034/1997

Manuel Martinez Coronado is reported to have been transferred to the Pavon Prison, where is feared he may soon become the first Guatemalan to be executed by lethal injection.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 34/34/97
4 September 1997
Further information on EXTRA 101/97 (AMR 34/28/97, 15 July 1997) - Death Penalty
GUATEMALAManuel Martínez Coronado
Manuel Martínez Coronado is reported to have been transferred to the Pavón
Prison, Granja Penal de Pavón, where it is feared he may soon become the first
Guatemalan to be executed by lethal injection.
Following national and international revulsion at the grotesque nature of the
first execution in 13 years in Guatemala of Pedro Castillo Mendoza and Roberto
Girón on 13 September 1996, which was shown live on Guatemalan television and
then broadcast around the world, Guatemalan Congress approved a measure
providing for future executions to be carried out by lethal injection. Pedro
Castillo Mendoza and Roberto Girón were shot by firing squad (see EXTRA 100/96,
AMR 34/18/96, 2 July 1996 and update AMR 34/29/96, 24 September).
Analysis of cases of executions by lethal injection in the United States of
America indicates that: first, those executed in this way do not die immediately,
but may take as long as 45 minutes to die; and second, that death by lethal
injection can be extremely painful. This new information undermines frequent
claims that lethal injection is the most "humanitarian" way to execute convicted
Amnesty International recognizes the duty of governments to bring to justice
those suspected of violent crimes. However, irrespective of the method of
execution, Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases on
the grounds that it is a violation of the right to life and the right not to
be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment as proclaimed in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Manuel Martínez Coronado was sentenced to death in October 1995 for the multiple
homicide of seven members of a family in May 1995.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Spanish or in your own language:
- recognizing the seriousness of the crime for which Manuel Martínez was
convicted, but expressing unconditional opposition to the death penalty in
all cases;
- urging that his death sentence be commuted to a more humane punishment;
- explaining that lethal injection is not a "humanitarian" way to execute people
(if possible give details of the evidence from the USA as described above);
- stressing that the death penalty, however inflicted, always amounts to cruel,
degrading and inhuman punishment, and is brutalizing to all involved in its
Vice-Minister of the Interior
Sr. Salvador Gándara
Viceministro de Gobernación
Ministerio de Gobernación
Despacho Ministerial, Of. Nº 8
Palacio Nacional
6ª Calle y 7ª Avenida, Zona 1
Guatemala , GUATEMALA
Fax: +502 251 5368
Telegrams: Viceministro Gobernacion, Guatemala, Guatemala
Salutation: Sr. Viceministro
President of Congress
Sra. Arabela Castro Quiñones
Presidenta del Congreso Nacional de la República
9ª Avenida 9-48, Zona 1
Guatemala , GUATEMALA
Fax: +502 232 0556
Telegrams: Presidenta, Congreso Nacional, Guatemala, Guatemala
Salutation: Sra. Presidenta
Procurator General
Lic. Acisclo Valladares Molina
Procurador General de la Nación General
Procuraduría General de la Nación
15 Avenida 9-69, Zona 13
Guatemala , GUATEMALA
Fax: +502 334 8465
Telegrams: Procurador General, Guatemala, Guatemala
Salutation: Señor Procurador
Minister of Foreign Relations
Sr. Eduardo Stein
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Palacio Nacional
6ª Calle y 7ª Avenida, Zona 1
Guatemala , GUATEMALA
Fax: +502 251 8445
Human Rights Procurator
Lic. Jorge Mario García Laguardia
Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
Procaduría de los Derechos Humanos
12 Avenida 12-72, Zona 1
Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Tel/Fax: +502 230 0877
Fax: +502 238 1734/251 7769
Head of the Presidential Coordinating Committee of the Policies of the Executive
relating to Human Rights
Licda. Marta Altolaguirre
Comisión Presidencial Coordinadora de la Política del Ejecutivo en Materia
de Derechos Humanos (COPREDEH)
13 calle 15-33, Zona 13
Guatemala , GUATEMALA
Fax: +502 334 1615/334 1407
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 5 October 1997.

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