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UA 218/93 - Guatemala: fear for safety: Elizabeth Recinos Alvarez de Leon, Eluvia de Salam

, N° d'index: AMR 34/045/1993

There is concern that the lives of Elizabeth Recinos and Eluvia de Salaam may still be in danger following their abduction on 17 June 1993 and subsequent release. According to reports, the two women were abducted in Guatemala City and driven away in separate cars. According to Elizabeth Recinos' testimony, she was interrogated, beaten and kicked repeatedly. Eluvia de Salam, a leader of the Social Welfare Union and a member of the National Federation of Guatemalan Union Workers (FENASTEG), was released on 18 June. Elizabeth Recinos, a leader of the Union of San Vicente Hospital, and a member of the National Assembly of Public Health Workers (ANTSP), was not released until 23 June. Both women are now believed to be in hiding, and there are serious concerns for their safety.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 34/45/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 218/93 Fear for Safety 5 July 1993
GUATEMALA: Elizabeth RECINOS ALVAREZ DE LEON (female), trade union leader
Eluvia DE SALAM (female), trade union leader
Amnesty International believes that the lives of Elizabeth Recinos Alvárez de León
and Eluvia de Salam may still be in danger following their abduction on 17 June 1993
and subsequent release. Elizabeth Recinos Alvárez de León and Eluvia de Salam are
believed to be in hiding and there are serious concerns for their safety.
According to reports, the two women were abducted in Guatemala City, the capital,
by unidentified men who immediately blindfolded them. The two women were reportedly
bundled into separate cars which were dark blue or black with smoked glass windows.
Eluvia de Salam was released on 18 June, but the whereabouts of Elizabeth Recinos
remained unknown until 23 June when she was found unconscious outside the house of
Eluvia de Salam.
According to the testimony of Elizabeth Recinos, she was driven for some three to
four hours and taken to a small room where she was drugged. She was then beaten and
kicked repeatedly and told "Sing me the song. I want you to tell me who are the corrupt
ones". (This is believed to be a reference to widespread allegations by grassroots
organizations in the aftermath of Guatemala's recent attempted `autogolpe'
(self-imposed or self-initiated coup) that many prominent officials and congress
people are deeply involved in corruption). After her release she was taken to the
police hospital where it was found that she had two broken ribs. She was then taken
to the San Vicente hospital where she remained for several days.
Before the release of Elizabeth Recinos a habeas corpus petition was filed on her
behalf and the Secretary of the Presidency, Hector Luna Trocolli, apparently promised
to take steps to establish her whereabouts.
Elizabeth Recinos is a leader of the Sindicato del Hospital San Vicente, Union of
San Vicente Hospital, and a member of the Asamblea Nacional de Trabajadores de Salud
Pública (ANTSP), National Assembly of Public Health Workers. Eluvia de Salam is a
leader of the Sindicato de Bienestar Social, Social Welfare Union, and a member of
the Federación Nacional de Sindicatos de Trabajadores de Guatemala (FENASTEG),
National Federation of Guatemalan Union Workers. Both women were active in the
demonstrations that took place following the autogolpe of ex-President Serrano on
25 May 1993. On 6 June 1993 the two women were reportedly followed by two men in
civilian clothing after attending the inauguration of President de León Carpio.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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 on 25 May
1993.
For many years Amnesty International has been concerned about human rights violations
directed against targeted groups, including trade unionists, student leaders,
journalists and those working with non-governmental organizations, particularly those
attempting to investigate and protect human rights, who have been long-term targets
of abuses in Guatemala, including harassment, threats, torture, "disappearances",
and extrajudicial executions. Such abuses have sometimes been preceded by acts of
intimidation and surveillance, such as in this instance.
Page 2 of UA 218/93
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters
either in Spanish, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the harassment and abduction of Elizabeth Recinos Alvárez
de León and Eluvia de Salam;
- expressing concern at the ill-treatment of Elizabeth Recinos Alvárez de León;
- asking that these incidents be immediately investigated and that those found
responsible be brought to justice;
- asking for guarantees for the security of both women.
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:
Lic. Arnoldo Ortiz Moscoso
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
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 537472
Telexes: 5361 COMGUA GU
Salutation: Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
1) Workers Union of the National Electricity Institute:
Sindicato de Trabajadores del Instituto Nacional de Electrificación (STINDE)
7a. Av., 2-29
Zona 9, Edificio La Torre
Guatemala, GUATEMALA
2) 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 16 August 1993.

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