Guatemala confirms warrant for presidential candidate

Thelma Aldana, representing the Seed Movement Party, listens to a journalist's question during a press conference regarding her presidential nomination, in Guatemala City, on Sunday, March 10, 2019. (AP)
Updated 20 March 2019
0

Guatemala confirms warrant for presidential candidate

  • Aldana, 63, was Guatemala’s top prosecutor from 2014 to 2018

GUATEMALA CITY: A Guatemalan judge has ordered the arrest of former attorney general and presidential candidate Thelma Aldana on charges including embezzlement, the police said on Tuesday, amid an escalating campaign on high-profile corruption and rights cases.
Aldana, who helped lead investigations into top politicians, including the current president, is seeking the presidency in a June election.
The warrant for her arrest, issued by Judge Victor Cruz, cited charges of embezzlement, lying and tax fraud. Aldana has denied wrongdoing.
Aldana, who was in El Salvador on Tuesday for a meeting, planned to return to Guatemala by Thursday, she said in an appearance on CNN.
She added that her presidential candidacy, approved by electoral authorities on Tuesday, had granted her immunity and that she would not take action against the arrest order.
“We’re not going to do anything... They know that I’m going to keep up the fight against corruption, and lots of people in Guatemala are trembling because of that,” she said.
President Jimmy Morales has fought back against a UN-backed anti-corruption body that, along with Aldana, sought to impeach him in a campaign financing investigation.
In January, he expelled the head of the corruption body, known as CICIG, from the country and has declined to renew its mandate.
Aldana and CICIG’s investigation of former President Otto Perez Molina led to his impeachment and cut short his presidency. He remains in custody on charges of involvement in a customs corruption ring.
Morales’ party is seeking to pass a law to free military officials convicted of human rights crimes during the Central American country’s 36-year civil war.
Lawmakers were set to review changes to the law on Wednesday, but dropped it from the agenda amid an onslaught of criticism from local and international rights groups, including the United Nations.
Instead, they have scheduled a discussion on modifying the criminal procedure code.
The proposed changes would limit jail time for accused people awaiting verdicts, which could allow the release of at least 100 people facing corruption charges, as well as others accused of war crimes. 


Woman shot dead in N.Ireland in ‘terrorist incident’

Updated 17 min 26 sec ago
0

Woman shot dead in N.Ireland in ‘terrorist incident’

  • A car-bombing and the hijacking of two vans in Londonderry earlier this year were blamed on a dissident paramilitary group
  • A 1998 peace deal largely brought an end to three decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland between republican and unionist paramilitaries

LONDON: A woman has been shot dead during riots in the city of Londonderry in Northern Ireland and the killing is being treated as a terrorist incident, police said Friday.
Images posted on social media showed a car and van ablaze and hooded individuals throwing petrol bombs and fireworks at police vehicles.
It was not immediately clear who the woman was or who shot her.
“Sadly I can confirm that following shots being fired tonight in Creggan, a 29-year-old woman has been killed,” Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said in a statement on Twitter.
“We are treating this as a terrorist incident and we have launched a murder enquiry.”
The violence came in the run-up to the Easter weekend, when Republicans opposed to British presence in Northern Ireland mark the anniversary of a 1916 uprising against British rule.
A car-bombing and the hijacking of two vans in Londonderry (also known as Derry) earlier this year were blamed on a dissident paramilitary group.
Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Union Party, which is in favor of Britain’s presence in Northern Ireland, described the death as “heartbreaking news.”
“A senseless act. A family has been torn apart. Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back,” she wrote on Twitter.
A 1998 peace deal largely brought an end to three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland between republican and unionist paramilitaries, as well as British armed forces, in a period known as “the Troubles.”
Some 3,500 people were killed in the conflict — many at the hands of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Police have blamed a group called the New IRA for the flare-up in violence in recent months.
Some have expressed fears that recent attacks could be a sign that paramilitaries are seeking to exploit the current political turbulence over Northern Ireland and its border with the Republic of Ireland caused by Brexit.
Michelle O’Neill, the deputy leader of Irish republican party Sinn Fein, condemned those responsible for the killing.
“My heart goes out to the family of the young woman shot dead by so-called dissidents,” she wrote on Twitter.
“This was an attack on the community, an attack on the peace process and an attack on the Good Friday Agreement,” she added, while calling for calm.
apz/plh/jah/mtp