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G u a t e m a l a H u m a n R i g h t s U P D A T E

Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA

Vol 17 No 7/ April 1, 2005


Guatemala City Judge Murdered 3/22/05 - Judge JOSE ANTONIO CRUZ HERNÁNDEZ was gunned down on March 21 at 3:30 PM as he was driving his pickup truck through Zone 7 of Guatemala City.

The Municipal Fire Department stated that the judge had received a bullet wound to the head. Next to his pickup truck, which slammed into two other cars, a spent 9mm shell was recovered.

Police indicated that Cruz tried to flee from his pursuers but, upon being overtaken by them, he lost con- trol of the pickup and crashed into two vehicles waiting to turn at a stoplight.

The family of the judge said that he was driving en route to his home. “We had no idea that he was being threatened,” said one family member.

The president of the Judges and MagistratesAs- sociation, Jackeline Espana, did not rule out the possibil- ity of a politically motivated killing.

Witness in Corruption Case is Assassinated 3/2205 - JUAN JOSE DE LEON PINEDA was mur- dered by a group of unknown individuals who shot him

Police Involved in Death of Gang Members 3/31/2005 - Twenty year-old HUGO FRANSISCO CASTILLO was executed on Tuesday the 29 in Villa Nueva, presumably by agents of the Criminal Investiga- tion Service, according to one of his friends who reported the crime. “They took him away at 3:00 and brought him back in serious condition, they had beaten him until he was nearly dead.”

The friend related that the police tried to prevent the Fire Department from taking him to the hospital. He along with Castillo’s wife placed Castillo in an ambulance headed for a hospital where he died two hours later. The police refute the charges and attribute the deaths to gang related vengeance.

According to theAssociationAgainst the Pre- vention of Crime (APREDE), the death of two former gang members in rehabilitation is part of a plan of social cleansing. Since January policed have killed eight youth involved inAPREDE’s rehabilitation processes, accord- ing to Emilio Goubaud, director ofAPREDE; who esti- mates that daily some twenty youth are executed through- out the entire country. From the manner in which they were murdered Goubaud considers organized crime groups, as well as the National Civil Police (PNC), to be involved.

six times as he was waiting at the corner of 1st street and 34th avenue in ColoniaVillaVictoria, in zone 6 of Mixco, just outside of Guatemala City.

De Leon Pineda, testified before the District Attorney’s OfficeAgainst Corruption on two corruption cases. In the case regarding the embezzlement of millions of dollars from theArmy, his testimony indicated the he was boss of theArmy Finances and in charge of signing checks that were due to be processed, which were later to be given in cash to some of the individuals involved in the theft.

According to versions given by witnesses at the scene of the crime, the murder victim was approached by several individuals who got out of a green car and shot the victim.


Assassination Plan Revealed 3/18/05 - On March 17, media sources revealed that Interior Minister Carlos Vielmann received a twelve-page report on an alleged plan to assassinate four prominent Guatemalans. Included in the report was Nineth Mon- tenegro, a congresswoman for the progressive New Na- tionAlliance party and a founder of the human rights or- ganization Mutual Support Group (GAM). She has dedi- cated herself to ensuring the auditing of several military institutions in which corruption and misuse of funds have

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