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31 Jul 2021

Al Jazeera

Guatemala: Anti-corruption prosecutor and former collaborator of the International Commission Against Impunity, Juan Francisco Sandoval, left his country to live in exile

“Guatemalan anti-corruption prosecutor flees country after sacking”, 24 July 2021

...Guatemalan anti-corruption prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval fled the country early on Saturday, hours after being sacked in a move that sparked international outrage...Sandoval, who had led the Guatemalan Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI) until Friday, fled to the Salvadoran border in the wee hours of Saturday, said Jordan Rodas, the Guatemalan human rights ombudsman...Sandoval arrived in La Chinamas, a border town in El Salvador, about 120km (75 miles) southeast of Guatemala City. He was accompanied on his trip out of Guatemala by human rights activists, Swedish Ambassador Hans Magnusson, and journalists from The Associated Press. “Sadly, this has become a situation that many public servants in Guatemala have had to go through simply because we are not useful for the regime,” Sandoval said, as reported by AP...Guatemala’s Attorney General Maria Porras removed the internationally known corruption prosecutor from his post on Friday. A government statement earlier that day said Porras had removed Sandoval due to “constant abuses and frequent abuses to the institutionality” of the ministry. “Given the imminent lack of trust in the relationship, today his employment is terminated,” Porras said...The unit Sandoval headed was originally created to tackle investigations spearheaded by the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which was removed from the country in 2019. He is a respected anti-corruption prosecutor with a record of pursuing dozens of criminal networks. Together with the former UN anti-corruption mission he helped take down former President Otto Perez Molina and some members of his cabinet on corruption charges...“The international community should protect him immediately,” Velasquez said...