Nov 22, 2010

Guilty Sentenced in Fernando Garcia Case

Screen shot 2010-11-21 at 11

On October 28, a Guatemalan court sentenced two former National Police agents to 40 years in prison for the 1984 forced disappearance of student and labor leader Edgar Fernando Garcia.  The Mutual Support Group (Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo, GAM) brought the case to the courts. 

GAM, often named as "Guatemala's first human rights group," was founded in 1986 by Fernando Garcia's spouse Nineth Montenegro.  The principle lawyer in the case was their daughter, Alejandra Garcia.  You can read her statement on the Caso Fernando Garcia blog run by Skylight Pictures.

The Fernando Garcia sentencing marks the third successful case against material authors of the crime of forced disappearance, following the precedents set in 2009 in the cases of Choatulum and El Jute.  The trial was also historic in its extensive use of documentary evidence drawn from the Historical Archive of the National Police, marking the first time that documents from the Archive have been used to sentence those responsible for crimes committed during the internal armed conflict. 

You can read more about the police archives and an insider's view on the case on the National Security Archive blog

In addition to the two former National Police agents sentenced, two other material authors accused in the case are currently in hiding.  The court also ordered an investigation into the intellectual authors of Fernando Garcia's disappearance.

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