WCW Home News Recent News 11-2-17 Guatemala: SOA Graduate to Stand Trial
11-2-17 Guatemala: SOA Graduate to Stand Trial PDF Print E-mail
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From School of Americas Watch

Judge Miguel Ángel Gálvez ordered former President of Guatemala and School of the America's graduate, Otto Pérez Molina, to stand trial for illicit enrichment, customs fraud and unlawful association.


The former President of Guatemala, along with 30 others, is involved in the "La Linea" or "The Line" case being investigated by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala and the Prosecutor General. They are focusing on 40 cases of illegal payments and contraband in Guatemalan customs.

The corrupt network, of which Pérez Molina formed part, collected bribes from business people and users in different customs points throughout the country, in exchange for modifying payments importers made to the treasury.

Mass mobilizations, which occurred when the case was first exposed, led to the overthrow of former President Otto Pérez Molina and his Vice President Roxana Baldest in September 2015.

SOA/WHINSEC Graduates


Pérez Molina began his military career in 1966 and studied at the "Escuela Politécnica" or the "Polytechnic School" from 1969 to 1973. He graduated from the School of the Americas in 1985 and the Inter-American Defense College based in Washington, DC.

He was also the director of military intelligence and a member of the special forces of Guatemala, Kaibiles, known for their brutality during the armed conflict.

On December 6, 1982, the Kaibiles entered the village of Las Dos Erres,  systematically raped the women and killed 162 people, including 67 children.

While dictator Efraín Ríos Montt - also a graduate of the School of the Americas - stood trial for genocide, a former soldier testified that Otto Pérez Molina directly ordered executions during the civil war. More than 200,000 people, mostly indigenous, were killed in Guatemala's civil war.

The United Nations Truth Commission established that the state security forces and Guatemalan paramilitary groups were responsible for 93% of the murders and human rights violations in the country.

Other graduates known in Guatemala for their crimes are General Manuel Antonio Callejas Callejas, Colonel Francisco Luis Gordillo Martínez, General Manuel Benedicto Lucas García and Ismael Segura Abularach.

To date, Guatemala has sent approximately 1,800 soldiers to the School of the Americas. From 2012 to 2016, 117 new officials were sent to the military academy that once operated in Panama and today continues to operate in Georgia, US.

In an article published by the National Catholic Reporter, Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOAW, stated that "there will never be justice or reconciliation until there is accountability and the perpetrators start going to prison."


 
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