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Guatemala: Freedom for Claudia González

The undersigned international organizations condemn the criminalization, persecution and unfounded apprehension of human rights lawyer Claudia González Orellana, former official of the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG), trial lawyer and defender of criminalized anti-corruption prosecutors such as Juan Francisco Sandoval and Virginia Laparra.

It is regrettable that the Public Ministry of Guatemala continues to act arbitrarily and criminalize the practice of law of Claudia González Orellana without any legal basis, affecting the right of defense of dozens of prosecutors who have been falsely accused, hindering their cases, in addition to being an act of intimidation and retaliation against attorney González Orellana for doing her job. It is concerning that, far from stopping these authoritarian practices, the policy of selective persecution implemented by the Public Ministry continues to escalate, especially against independent justice officials, journalists, litigants and human rights defenders who have worked in the fight against corruption and impunity and in the defense of human rights in the country.

It is inadmissible that, nine days after the arrest of attorney Claudia González Orellana, on the day of the first statement hearing, the case brought against her was declared under reserve, thus violating the guarantees of due process by unjustifiably failing to comply with the principle of publicity which, as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has pointed out, “has the function of proscribing the secret administration of justice, submitting it to the scrutiny of the parties and the public and is related to the need for transparency and impartiality of the decisions taken”.

We call for the immediate release of Claudia González Orellana and for the State of Guatemala to comply with its international human rights obligations, to respect due process and to guarantee the integrity of this human rights lawyer.

Source : WOLA