Spain seeks arrest of Guatemalan ex-president

23rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

23 February 2005, MADRID- Spain's National Court has issued an international arrest warrant for the former Guatemalan President Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia for his alleged responsibility in the murders of seven Spanish citizens during his 1978-82 administration.

23 February 2005

MADRID- Spain's National Court has issued an international arrest warrant for the former Guatemalan President Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia for his alleged responsibility in the murders of seven Spanish citizens during his 1978-82 administration.

In his ruling, Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska said that Lucas is believed to be residing in Venezuela and he asked Interpol and Venezuelan authorities to arrest him so that he may be extradited.

The judge charged Lucas with seven counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of torture.

Grande-Marlaska was referring, in part, to the killing of three Spaniards during the assault by security forces on the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City in January 1980 and the attempted murder of Spain's then-ambassador, Maximo Cajal, who was seriously wounded.

Peasants, workers and students had occupied the Spanish Embassy seeking an end to Guatemalan government oppression, but Guatemalan security forces stormed the mission to break the siege. A total of 39 people were killed in the assault.

The judge also said he believed the former Guatemalan leader was responsible for the 1980 and 1981 murders of four Spanish priests, Jose Maria Gran Ciera, Faustino Villanueva, Juan Alonzo Fernandez and Carlos Perez.

The killings - according to the warrant- were promoted by the Guatemalan government, which "fashioned a plan to suppress the Mayan ethnic group, provoking forced displacements (and) making the violence carried out (by) the state ... a suitable instrument for those ends."

"That violence was manifested in multiple murders, torture, rapes of women, and so on, making terror a 'modus operandi,'" the order read.

The Guatemalan army in the late 1970s and early 1980s carried out "scorched earth" campaigns, including aerial bombardment of villages with napalm, designed to eliminate or terrorize rural populations suspected of collaborating with leftist rebels.

The repression killed an estimated 100,000 people, mostly Maya Indians, out of a total national population at the time of some nine million.

Grande-Marlaska said that on 25 February 2003, the Spanish Supreme Court established the National Court's authority "in the investigation of and trial for the deeds committed against Spanish citizens in the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala on 31 January, 1980, and for the deeds committed" against the four Spanish priests.

The National Court was set up to hear high-profile terrorism, corruption and drug trafficking cases.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

0 Comments To This Article