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UA 215/93 - Guatemala: "disappearance": Erwin Alvarado Estrada, Aurelio Cabrera Mendez

, N° d'index: AMR 34/043/1993

Erwin Alvarado Estrada and Aurelio Cabrera Mendez "disappeared" on 24 June 1993 in Joyabaj, department of El Quiche. According to reports in the days prior to their "disappearance" they had received repeated threats from members of the Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil (PAC), Civil Defence Patrols. The two men had refused to join the PAC, and had been actively trying to bring members of the APC to trial for alleged violations

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/43/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 215/93 "Disappearance" 28 June 1993
GUATEMALA: Erwin ALVARADO ESTRADA, trader
Aurelio CABRERA MENDEZ, trader
Amnesty International is concerned about the "disappearance" of Erwin Alvarado
Estrada and Aurelio Cabrera Méndez on 24 June 1993 in the municipality of
Joyabaj, department of El Quiché, which is heavily patrolled by members of
the Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil (PAC), Civil Defence Patrols.
According to reports, on 19 June 1993 the two men were attacked and threatened
with being shot by the head of the PAC in that area. Later that day they were
followed by the same man, who shot at their homes and at their vehicle. On
the following day, while the two men were at the local police station asking
for protection, another member of the PAC arrived at the police station and
apparently said, in the presence of police officers, that "the job had not
been done properly" and that he would do it himself. The police reportedly
tried to detain him but he escaped.
Subsequently, on 24 June 1993 Erwin Alvarado Estrada and Aurelio Cabrera Méndez
"disappeared" following a meeting with the local governor of the department
of El Quiché.
Erwin Alvarado Estrada and Aurelio Cabrera Méndez had refused to join the PAC
and had been actively trying to bring members of the PAC to trial for alleged
violations. For this reason, it is feared that they may have been detained.
However, this has not been acknowledged by the authorities and there is therefore
concern for their safety.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Civil Defence Patrols (PAC) were created as a component of the military's
counter-insurgency strategy in 1982. Although voluntary according to the
Constitution, civil patrols are in effect compulsory. Those refusing to take
part in them have been branded "guerrillas", and many have been subjected to
human rights violations, including harassment and attacks, "disappearance"
and extrajudicial execution.
On 6 June 1993 Ramiro de León Carpio, previously the Human Rights Procurator,
was voted President by Congress, following his near-unanimous selection by
Congress to serve out the remaining term of President Jorge Serrano Elías.
Ex-president Serrano had been forced from office after trying to seize
near-dictatorial powers.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern about the "disappearance" of Erwin Alvarado Estrada and
Aurelio Cabrera Méndez;
- asking for an immediate investigation into their whereabouts;
- urging that, if held in detention, they be humanely treated and granted
access to a lawyer, doctor and relatives;
- urging that, if held in detention, they be promptly brought before a competent
court or else released.
Page 2 of UA 215/93
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 Serrano, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 537472, + 502 2 519702
Telexes: 5331 CAPRES GU
Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President
2) Minister of Interior:
Ministro de Gobernación
Ministerio de Gobernación
Despacho Ministerial, Of. No. 8
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Ministro de Gobernación, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 518105
Telephone: + 502 2 21212, ext 500;
+ 502 2 518105-6 (direct)
Telexes: 5085 MINGOB
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
3) Minister of Defence:
Gral. Roberto Perussina Rivera
Ministro de Defensa
Ministerio de Defensa
Palacio Nacional, Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Telegrams: Ministro de Defensa, Guatemala, Guatemala
Faxes: + 502 2 537472
Telexes: 5361 COMGUA GU
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
1) Archbishop's Human Rights Office:
Oficina de Derechos Humanos del
Arzobispado de Guatemala (ODHAG)
Apartado Postal 723
Guatemala, Guatemala
1) Head of the Presidential Commission Coordinating the Policies of the
Executive relating to Human Rights:
Sr. Bernardo Neumann
COPREDEH
15 Avenida 18-38, Zona 13
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 9 August 1993.

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