{"code":"26486","sect":"Central America","sect_slug":"central-america","hits":"835","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202211\/centroamerica\/26486","link_edit":"","name":"Death Squad Dossier Judge Recounts His Fearful Months before Exile","slug":"death-squad-dossier-judge-recounts-his-fearful-months-before-exile","info":"Guatemalan judge Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez, who for 20 years oversaw the high-profile convictions of war criminals, corrupt officials and drug traffickers, will not return to Guatemala and considers himself in exile. Under the Giammattei administration, some thirty prosecutors, judges, and journalists have fled Guatemala to escape political persecution. El Faro interviewed G\u00e1lvez a few days before he left for Costa Rica.","mtag":"Impunity","noun":{"html":"Julie L\u00f3pez","data":{"julie-lopez":{"sort":"","slug":"julie-lopez","path":"julie_lopez","name":"Julie L\u00f3pez","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"835","pict":{"cms-image-000037426-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"37426","name":"cms-image-000037426.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037426.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037426.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037426-jpg","text":"<p>Demonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EDemonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000037427-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"37427","name":"cms-image-000037427.JPG","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037427.JPG","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037427.JPG","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037427-jpg","text":"<p>A Guatemalan High-Risk Tribunal held a pre-trial hearing on June 7, 2021 on charges against more than a dozen retired military and police officials for the alleged torture, forced disappearance, and murder of at least 195 suspected political dissidents named in a secret military hit-list between 1983 and 1985. The case is named after the Diario Militar, or \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EA Guatemalan High-Risk Tribunal held a pre-trial hearing on June 7, 2021 on charges against more than a dozen retired military and police officials for the alleged torture, forced disappearance, and murder of at least 195 suspected political dissidents named in a secret military hit-list between 1983 and 1985. The case is named after the Diario Militar, or \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000038209-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"38209","name":"cms-image-000038209.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000038209.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000038209.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000038209-jpg","text":"<p>Retired general Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt takes a break during one of the genocide trial hearings. Photo taken on January 31, 2013. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez R\u00edos\/AFP<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003ERetired general Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt takes a break during one of the genocide trial hearings. Photo taken on January 31, 2013. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez R\u00edos\/AFP\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000038210-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"38210","name":"cms-image-000038210.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000038210.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000038210.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000038210-jpg","text":"<p>Former Guatemalan dictator (1982-1983), General Jos\u00e9 Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt, testifies on May 9, 2013 while on trial for the crime of genocide. R\u00edos Montt was found guilty, but the Supreme Court ordered a retrial citing procedural errors. He died before a second trial could take place. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EFormer Guatemalan dictator (1982-1983), General Jos\u00e9 Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt, testifies on May 9, 2013 while on trial for the crime of genocide. R\u00edos Montt was found guilty, but the Supreme Court ordered a retrial citing procedural errors. He died before a second trial could take place. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000038211-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"38211","name":"cms-image-000038211.jpg","link":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000038211.jpg","path":"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000038211.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000038211-jpg","text":"<p>Judge Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez during the trial of former Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested on corruption charges in Guatemala City on August 24, 2015. Prosecutors and officials from a UN investigative commission uncovered extensive evidence implicating Baldetti and President Otto P\u00e9rez Molina in a massive and highly organized scheme to reduce customs duties for importers in exchange for bribes. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EJudge Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez during the trial of former Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested on corruption charges in Guatemala City on August 24, 2015. Prosecutors and officials from a UN investigative commission uncovered extensive evidence implicating Baldetti and President Otto P\u00e9rez Molina in a massive and highly organized scheme to reduce customs duties for importers in exchange for bribes. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":38211,"date":{"live":"2022\/11\/17"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2022","data_post_dateLive_MM":"11","data_post_dateLive_DD":"17","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202211\/centroamerica\/26464\/%E2%80%9CNo-se-puede-quedar-uno-en-Guatemala-en-estas-condiciones%E2%80%9D.htm?ref=home\"\u003E\u003Cem\u003ELeer en espa\u00f1ol\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn Tuesday, November 1, a photograph of Guatemalan judge Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez appeared on social media alongside seven others as part of a macabre and menacing bingo card \u2014 a fraction of the roughly thirty prosecutors, judges and independent journalists who have been imprisoned or forced into exile by the Guatemalan state this year. All of their faces, including G\u00e1lvez\u2019s, were marked with a red \u201cX.\u201d\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe threatening image was \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/photo\/?fbid=10160152726794264&set=a.10152352500054264\"\u003Epublished by an influential group of right-wing operatives\u003C\/a\u003E with ties to former military officers and Guatemala\u2019s economic elite, known as the \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202206\/centroamerica\/26216\/New-Targets-of-Attorney-General%E2%80%99s-Lawfare-against-Guatemalan-Justice.htm?utm_source=DB+El+Faro_English&utm_campaign=6bdd130679-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_22_01_08_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3ec9190c89-6bdd130679-192606475\"\u003EFoundation Against Terrorism\u003C\/a\u003E (FCT). The caption read: \u201cThis is how the legal snipers of the @FCTGuatemala do our work: one judicial shot, one civil death. This is how we combat [...] the globalist agenda against Guatemala. Just a few more to go\u2026\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt is because of accusations filed by the FCT that G\u00e1lvez, before he resigned from his position on Tuesday, was facing impeachment proceedings that threatened to repeal his immunity and send him to prison. The FCT is also responsible for leveling similar complaints against several former officials from the Special Prosecutor's Office against Impunity (FECI), which resulted in the imprisonment of Virginia Laparra and Siomara Sosa, as well as Leily Santizo, the former head of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). The president of the FCT, Ricardo M\u00e9ndez Ruiz \u2014 a self-described \u201cultra-right activist\u201d who has \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.soy502.com\/articulo\/ricardo-mendez-llama-condecoracion-aparecer-lista-engel-100931\"\u003Ebragged about his inclusion on the Engel List\u003C\/a\u003E, the United States\u2019 catalog of corrupt Central American officials \u2014 \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/rmendezruiz\/status\/1587411944700608514\"\u003Etweeted on November 1\u003C\/a\u003E: \u201c4 days left for the corrupt judge Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez to leave Guatemala.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn November 4th, the final day of the FCT president\u2019s ultimatum, the Guatemalan newspaper La Hora reported that Judge G\u00e1lvez, according to information from the Guatemalan Migration Institute (IGM), had \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/lahoragt\/status\/1588646698435620866\"\u003Eleft the country early that morning\u003C\/a\u003E \u2014 an unusual assertion, given that official government sources do not typically provide information to the press regarding individual citizens\u2019 travel activities. Stranger still, given that initially G\u00e1lvez denied the claims of the IGM and La Hora, only to \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/lahora.gt\/nacionales\/engelberth-blanco\/2022\/11\/05\/siempre-si-ahora-galvez-dice-que-salio-a-costa-rica-pero-que-regresa\/\"\u003Elater admit that he was, indeed, in Costa Rica\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAt the time of this interview, G\u00e1lvez was about to leave the country for Costa Rica, but claimed that he was not going into exile and planned to return to exhaust what few options he had left to prove his innocence before a co-opted justice system. In all likelihood, he did not know whether he would actually return. On November 15, G\u00e1lvez announced his resignation, and sources close to the judge told El Faro that he would not come back to Guatemala, and that he now considers himself in exile.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EG\u00e1lvez said that he left Guatemala by commercial plane at 6 a.m. on November 4. \u201cI was wearing a face mask, a hat and a hooded jacket, and when I got to the immigration kiosk, the agent was busy with a few different tasks and she barely looked up at me,\u201d he said. But, when the agent handed him back his passport, she said, \u201cHave a good day, Judge G\u00e1lvez.\u201d While G\u00e1lvez knew that his face and name was now familiar to most Guatemalans, having been featured in the news in recent days, he admits that the experience was a startling one. Today, in Guatemala, being a judge means being afraid.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cThe only option left\u201d\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EA few days before he fled the country, Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez spoke with El Faro at his home on the outskirts of Guatemala City. \u201cThere\u2019s a strong terror taking hold in Guatemala,\u201d he said.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cHow many prosecutors and judges are in Washington, Mexico, Costa Rica, Switzerland?,\u201d asked G\u00e1lvez. \u201cThere\u2019s a lot of fear. Twenty days ago [the first week of October], I received a recognition in San Pedro La Laguna [in the department of Solol\u00e1, 175 kilometers northwest of Guatemala City] and I met with all the Indigenous mayors. They told me that the military has come into the community to give presentations, that the FCT has held meetings, that they were even asking for a list of people who had gone to testify on the issue of the genocide.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe \u201cissue of the genocide\u201d is a reference to the trial for the genocide committed by the Armed Forces of Guatemala against the Ixil Mayan people in the early 1980s. The two trials against former Guatemalan dictator Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt and one of his officers, in 2013 and 2017, unleashed a counterattack spearheaded by the country\u2019s financial and military elites against a justice system that, for the first time in history, they did not control. Ever since, spaces for civil activity in Guatemala have been shutting down.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=1997&ImageId=38210\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Former Guatemalan dictator (1982-1983), General Jos\u00e9 Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt, testifies on May 9, 2013 while on trial for the crime of genocide. R\u00edos Montt was found guilty, but the Supreme Court ordered a retrial citing procedural errors. He died before a second trial could take place. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EFormer Guatemalan dictator (1982-1983), General Jos\u00e9 Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt, testifies on May 9, 2013 while on trial for the crime of genocide. R\u00edos Montt was found guilty, but the Supreme Court ordered a retrial citing procedural errors. He died before a second trial could take place. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EA lot has changed since 2015, when president and retired general Otto P\u00e9rez Molina was ousted from office on charges of corruption. Now, G\u00e1lvez says, the situation has only gotten worse, with more and more violations of freedom of expression and the press, \u201cespecially against journalists working with grassroots media outlets, who are no longer in their homes; most of them have taken refuge in churches.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2014Ask them why, and they\u2019ll tell you: \u2018I don't know who\u2019s in jail, so-and-so has left the country.\u2019 What does that suggest? Look at the case of Juan Francisco Sandoval, for example, where they use privileged information from conversations with his lawyer in their investigations against him; or the case of the journalist who interviewed Virginia Laparra, who had to leave the country because they threatened her and then used the interview as evidence of obstruction of justice.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2014So, the only thing left is to leave the country?\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2014That\u2019s the only option left, because it\u2019s not possible to stay in Guatemala under these conditions. It\u2019s a really hard situation. If the process is plagued by irregularities [G\u00e1lvez has been prevented from accessing his case files, and his defense attorney has been disqualified] then what is there left to do? Unfortunately, this is how things are now.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ETwo Decades of Threats\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EG\u00e1lvez is short, wears glasses, and has thick, gray hair that he has recently started to dye. Like the majority of judges and prosecutors in Guatemala who faced persecution for taking action against a power structure that was thought to be untouchable, G\u00e1lvez has a deceptively fragile physical appearance. But for over two decades, he has presided over high-profile cases of serious human rights violations, war crimes, and corruption. And for two decades, he has faced threats and harassment.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EG\u00e1lvez says, however, that in May, when he handed down his ruling in the Diario Militar case, also known as the \u201c\u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202204\/centroamerica\/26139\/Trial-for-%E2%80%9CDeath-Squad-Dossier%E2%80%9D-Ties-Guatemalan-Wartime-Atrocities-to-Current-Criminal-Networks.htm\"\u003EDeath Squad Dossier\u003C\/a\u003E,\u201d and sent nine ex-military officers to prison for their role in the murder and enforced disappearing of 196 political dissidents from 1983 to 1986, he faced an \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202205\/centroamerica\/26172\/Guatemalan-Judge-under-Threat-after-Ordering-Trial-in-1980s-%E2%80%9CDeath-Squad-Dossier%E2%80%9D-Case.htm\"\u003Eintense campaign of online harassment\u003C\/a\u003E, and suspicious unmarked vehicles began to follow him with increased frequency. Nothing, however, that he had not experienced before.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=37427\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"A Guatemalan High-Risk Tribunal held a pre-trial hearing on June 7, 2021 on charges against more than a dozen retired military and police officials for the alleged torture, forced disappearance, and murder of at least 195 suspected political dissidents named in a secret military hit-list between 1983 and 1985. The case is named after the Diario Militar, or \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EA Guatemalan High-Risk Tribunal held a pre-trial hearing on June 7, 2021 on charges against more than a dozen retired military and police officials for the alleged torture, forced disappearance, and murder of at least 195 suspected political dissidents named in a secret military hit-list between 1983 and 1985. The case is named after the Diario Militar, or \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Foto de El Faro: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a.\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn 2001, G\u00e1lvez was appointed to a special jurisdiction court in Chiquimula, a city in the eastern part of the country, where he presided over cases involving organized crime, drug trafficking, and kidnapping. That\u2019s when the threats began, and they were constant and direct. \u201cNot so much from the criminal structures, but from people involved with the government and with drug trafficking,\u201d he says. \u201cWhen I would leave Chiquimula, for example, we would travel by car, with my security team, and big trucks or SUVs would catch up to us and roll down their windows and flash their rifles at us.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOne case G\u00e1lvez presided over involved the transport of cocaine in armored bank trucks. The vehicles were guarded by agents of the National Civil Police (PNC), but, G\u00e1lvez says, the most direct threats he received came from the Presidential General Staff (EMP), the military unit in charge of protecting the president and his family.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cOne day,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says, \u201cthree guys showed up wearing suits with badges on their lapels; I went to write down their names, but they told me, \u2018no, don\u2019t worry about it, we\u2019ll leave our cards.\u2019\u201d G\u00e1lvez says that the men identified themselves as members of the EMP: \u201c\u2018It's your choice,\u2019 they told me. \u2018If you want to denounce us, go ahead, denounce us, but the worst they\u2019ll charge us with is making threats, and we\u2019ll exterminate your whole family.\u2019 Then they showed me a photo of my son and a photo of my wife. \u2018It's up to you, nothing happened here,\u2019 they told me. Then they left, with one guy reaching out to shake my hand and saying, \u2018Thanks, very nice to see you,\u2019 and another even going so far as to give me a hug.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe case was closed due to a lack of safety guarantees for the prosecutor and Judge G\u00e1lvez. Several \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.wola.org\/sites\/default\/files\/downloadable\/Citizen%20Security\/past\/Poderesocultos.pdf\"\u003Ereports\u003C\/a\u003E have since linked the EMP of the early 2000s to a variety of criminal activities. Years later, during a drug trafficking trial in the United States, it was revealed that, at the time, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.plazapublica.com.gt\/content\/los-socios-mas-cercanos-de-los-lorenzana-sus-peores-enemigos-en-una-corte\"\u003EPNC agents were often used to guard cocaine shipments\u003C\/a\u003E. The President of Guatemala, Alfonso Portillo (2000-2004), was extradited to the United States in 2013, where he was found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to 70 months in prison.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EDuring the same time period, in Chiquimula, Judge G\u00e1lvez presided over a case against Jorge Mario Chigua Gonz\u00e1lez, the former mayor of Puerto Barrios, Izabal, who was facing prosecution for the \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.prensalibre.com\/guatemala\/sicarios-actuaban-izabal_0_59994821\/\"\u003Eextrajudicial killing of a journalist\u003C\/a\u003E. Chigua was a member of the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), the ruling party. On the first day of the trial, the judge received a call.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cIt was the president of Congress, Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says. The country had transitioned to democracy and the former dictator had become president of the legislative branch, and the leader of the FRG. \u201cHe didn't tell me what he wanted,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says. \u201cThe only thing he asked me was, \u2018Do you have aspirations for promotion in the judiciary? If you do, we can include you on the list for eligible magistrates. If not, no worries. You\u2019ll be put on a list of those who are not eligible,\u2019 and then he hung up.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn 2010, Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez was transferred to the Seventh Court in Guatemala City, where he served as comptroller judge, and as a judge for the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which had been founded three years earlier, and he started receiving threats again. Later, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.prensalibre.com\/guatemala\/justicia\/asi-nacieron-los-juzgados-de-mayor-riesgo-la-alternativa-para-conocer-casos-de-alto-impacto-en-guatemala\/\"\u003Ewhen Guatemala\u2019s \u201cHigh-Risk\u201d courts were created\u003C\/a\u003E, G\u00e1lvez was asked to join one of those courts as a member magistrate. The president of the court G\u00e1lvez joined was Yassmin Barrios, the woman who would later deliver R\u00edos Montt\u2019s conviction on charges of genocide.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ETogether, G\u00e1lvez and Barrios handled high-profile cases, including the case of \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.newyorker.com\/magazine\/2011\/04\/04\/a-murder-foretold\"\u003ERodrigo Rosemberg\u003C\/a\u003E, the businessman who arranged his own murder in an attempt to oust the president; the \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/digitalrepository.unm.edu\/cgi\/viewcontent.cgi?article=10486&context=noticen\"\u003Emurder of three Salvadoran members of Central American Parlaiment\u003C\/a\u003E (Parlacen), along with their driver and four policemen; and the prosecution of the Zetas cartel in Guatemala. In 2012 another special jurisdiction court was created, with Barrios serving as president and G\u00e1lvez as comptroller judge. There, they presided over historic cases such as the \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.bbc.com\/news\/world-latin-america-30895524\"\u003Eburning of the Spanish Embassy\u003C\/a\u003E, the systematic rape of Ixil Mayan women by the Guatemalan Army, and the genocide trial.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe trial against former General R\u00edos Montt began in 2013, and the focus of the entire country was trained on the proceedings. It was G\u00e1lvez who brought the case to trial. Zury R\u00edos, the daughter of the retired general and a current presidential hopeful, attended all the hearings, usually in the company of M\u00e9ndez Ruiz, the man who now, nine years later, is trying to put an end to G\u00e1lvez's judicial career.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOne day, during the genocide trial, Judge G\u00e1lvez was in his chambers with the door open, as usual. When he looked up, R\u00edos Montt was standing over his desk. \u201cI stood up, greeted him, and asked him to sit down, and he told me I was acting as if I were still a lower court judge. \u2018If you\u2019ll remember,\u2019 I told him, \u2018Congress has placed me on a list of individuals ineligible for judgeships.\u2019 When I said that, he turned quickly and stared at me. I think he remembered that he was the one who had told me that I was going to appear on that list, because he finished the conversation and said, 'Very nice to see you,\u2019 and then left,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThat was the first time that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued protective measures on Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez\u2019s behalf. In the end, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/nacla.org\/news\/2019\/05\/16\/%E2%80%9Chistory-moves-forward-you-cannot-go-back%E2%80%9D-interview-judge-yassm%C3%ADn-barrios-bilingual\"\u003EJudge Barrios\u003C\/a\u003E convicted R\u00edos Montt of genocide, but the Supreme Court ordered a retrial and \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nytimes.com\/2018\/04\/01\/obituaries\/efrain-rios-montt-guatemala-dead.html\"\u003Ethe general died in 2018\u003C\/a\u003E, before a second trial could take place.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=4138&ImageHeight=2733&ImageId=38209\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Retired general Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt takes a break during one of the genocide trial hearings. Photo taken on January 31, 2013. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez R\u00edos\/AFP\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ERetired general Efra\u00edn R\u00edos Montt takes a break during one of the genocide trial hearings. Photo taken on January 31, 2013. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez R\u00edos\/AFP\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EG\u00e1lvez has continued to hear war-crime cases in Guatemala, such as the prosecution of retired general Benedicto Lucas, also convicted of genocide, or the Sepur Zarco case, involving a group of military officers convicted for the systematic rape and enslavement of Q\u2019eqchi\u2019 Mayan women in the 1980s. G\u00e1lvez claims that the father of FCT president Ricardo M\u00e9ndez Ruiz, Ricardo M\u00e9ndez Ruiz Rohrmoser, who served as commander in Cob\u00e1n, Alta Verapaz, between 1978 and 1982, and who died in 2016, is implicated in the Sepur Zarco case.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ERuiz Rohrmoser was appointed Minister of the Interior after R\u00edos Montt carried out a coup d'\u00e9tat in March, 1982, and a \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.prensacomunitaria.org\/2019\/09\/este-es-el-estudio-sobre-dos-militares-que-la-usac-se-nego-a-presentar\/\"\u003E2018 study\u003C\/a\u003E by San Carlos University has linked him to a case of genocide. The FCT president \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.plazapublica.com.gt\/content\/esto-no-es-un-juego\"\u003Eclaims that his father was not a murderer\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EIn the Crosshairs of the FCT\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Foundation Against Terrorism\u2019s first complaint against G\u00e1lvez came in 2012, at the start of the R\u00edos Montt trial. Five other organizations with ideological orientations similar to those of the FCT, including Immortal Guatemala (Guatemala Inmortal) and the Association of Military Veterans of Guatemala (Avemilgua), also filed complaints against G\u00e1lvez at that time.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESubsequent cases, such as La L\u00ednea and Cooptaci\u00f3n del Estado, which in 2016 implicated almost the entire cabinet of the party of then-President Otto P\u00e9rez Molina (2012-2015), along with dozens of businessmen with state contracts, earned him more enemies. Today, G\u00e1lvez has a total of 78 complaints recorded against him, a third of them filed by the FCT.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn 2021, G\u00e1lvez joined several other High-Risk Court judges \u2014 including Yassmin Barrios, \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202203\/centroamerica\/26082\/Judge-Aif%C3%A1n-from-Exile-%E2%80%9CMy-life-was-in-danger-in-Guatemala%E2%80%9D.htm\"\u003EErika Aif\u00e1n\u003C\/a\u003E (who also has a hundred or so complaints filed against her and has gone into exile in the United States), and Pablo Xitumul (\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.prensalibre.com\/guatemala\/justicia\/pablo-xitumul-es-suspendido-del-juzgado-de-mayor-riesgo-c-mientras-dilucida-su-situacion-juridica-resuelve-la-corte-suprema-de-justicia-breaking\/\"\u003Esuspended in March\u003C\/a\u003E for alleged abuse of authority) \u2014 in \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/lahora.gt\/nacionales\/jeanelly\/2021\/06\/21\/jueces-de-mayor-riesgo-piden-al-mp-desestimar-denuncias-sin-fundamento\/\"\u003Efiling a petition with the Public Prosecutor\u2019s Office\u003C\/a\u003E to request an end to the unfounded complaints.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cAs a result of our petition to the attorney general, we received three more complaints against us,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cAt first they focused more on Erika [Aif\u00e1n], but with me, the military joined forces with companies like Cementos Progreso, Cementos Novella [...] Especially after the arrest of Toribio Acevedo, during the Diario Militar case,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says. Toribio Acevedo is a lawyer who \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.prensalibre.com\/guatemala\/justicia\/caso-diario-militar-ligan-a-proceso-a-toribio-acevedo-por-varios-delitos-breaking\/\"\u003Eserved as a member of the Presidential General Staff\u003C\/a\u003E (EMP), and at least as recently as May \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.plazapublica.com.gt\/content\/diario-militar-estos-son-los-nueve-militares-que-deben-enfrentar-juicio\"\u003Ewas on the payroll of Cementos Progreso\u003C\/a\u003E, one of the largest and most disreputable companies in the country, which has helped finance numerous political campaigns. Two others were prosecuted alongside Acevedo in the Diario Militar case: Jacobo Sal\u00e1n S\u00e1nchez (former head of the EMP\u2019s General Archive and Support Services, known as \u201cThe Archive,\u201d \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.no-ficcion.com\/project\/diario-militar-archivo-inteligencia-estatal\"\u003Ea death squad and military intelligence unit\u003C\/a\u003E), and Marco Antonio Gonz\u00e1lez Taracena (Minister of Defense during the de facto government of General \u00d3scar Humberto Mej\u00eda V\u00edctores, 1983-1986, and head of The Archive during the R\u00edos Montt administration, 1982-1983).\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThere is so much impunity that the criminal economic and military power structures have joined forces and now they\u2019re leading the charge on all of this,\u201d says G\u00e1lvez. This, he says, includes the campaign of threats against him.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe La L\u00ednea case caused a lot of problems for them. It even seemed like they were taking a pause from things; I remember someone noting how calm everything seemed, but it was because they were taking over all the institutions,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says. \u201cBut just when they had the luxury of institutional control, the investigations led by Juan Francisco Sandoval [head of the Special Prosecutor\u2019s Office Against Impunity, or FECI, until July 2021] began, and then the case against Jos\u00e9 Luis Benito [Minister of Communications for the Jimmy Morales administration (2016-2020), implicated in alleged bribes to Alejandro Giammattei], and the whole relationship with the Russians [who own the nickel mines in Izabal and are allegedly \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202202\/centroamerica\/25996\/%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8BTestigo-acusa-a-Giammattei-de-financiar-su-campa%C3%B1a-con-sobornos-de-constructoras.htm\"\u003Eimplicated in bribes to President Giammattei\u003C\/a\u003E]. And then, \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202107\/centroamerica\/25626\/Interview-with-a-Former-Prosecutor-en-Route-to-Exile-%E2%80%9CI-can-now-say-that-everything-Porras-has-done-is-shady%E2%80%9D.htm\"\u003EJuan Francisco is removed\u003C\/a\u003E, the attorney general is reelected, and the reconfiguration continues.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAccording to G\u00e1lvez, the final assault began on May 6, at 9:35 a.m., when Ricardo M\u00e9ndez Ruiz tweeted: \u201cTomorrow, when we hear about more gang members disappeared due to infighting and score-settling, these crooks and profiteers will blame the state and ask for reparations for [the victims of] Diario Militar. Of course, it won\u2019t be Judge G\u00e1lvez who will be imprisoned for his lying and obstruction.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThen, at 12:53 p.m., the FCT president sent another tweet: \u201cJudge Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez, in the Death Squad Dossier case, claimed that it\u2019s not necessary for the court to comply with the sacred restrictions on time, place, and manner in the proceedings against the accused, and thus, this corrupt, lying judge granted a new request for a preliminary injunction.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ELess than ten minutes later, the Twitter account of \u201cYes Master,\u201d a prominent social media troll known in Guatemala for harassing justice system workers, posted: \u201cThis corrupt liar needs a good beating. He\u2019s next. We need to cleanse our justice system of these scum.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=37426\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Demonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EDemonstrators left a tribute to victims outside of the Palace of Justice in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021 during a hearing for the Diario Militar case, also known as the \"Death Squad Dossier.\" Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ELater that afternoon, M\u00e9ndez Ruiz arrived at the hearing for the Death Squad Dossier and sat down in the audience. \u201cI was reading out the ruling,\u201d G\u00e1lvez recalls. \u201cThe courtroom was full.\u201d The judge eyed Ruiz with a feeling of unease, but continued reading the order for the pre-trial detention of nine ex-military personnel. Minutes later, Ruiz posted on Twitter: \u201cIt's Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez's turn. FCT Guatemala will handle this one.\"\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cWhen I left the Torre de Tribunales at 7:30 that evening, I started to be followed,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says. \u201cA van was following us. We never saw the license plate. I was really tired but when I got home, because I had spent so much time sitting down, I went out for a walk, something I never do. It was about 8:00 p.m. When I looked up, I saw a person with a T-shirt standing on the corner, about three meters away, making this gesture with his hand.\u201d The judge pats himself a couple of times on the side of his waist, imitating the man\u2019s movements. G\u00e1lvez understood what the man was telling him: He was carrying a handgun.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cI didn't want to turn my back on him. I thought he was going to shoot me, but I couldn't just stand there,\u201d he remembers. \u201cSo, I turned around and started walking back to the house, sure that he would shoot me. But he didn't.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003ETerror Takes Hold\u00a0\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThe current complaint from M\u00e9ndez Ruiz is the same as the one from 2013,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says. \u201cThe problem is that now they\u2019ve reconfigured all the institutions.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn May 6, after sentencing the defendants in the Death Squad Dossier case to pre-trial detention, Judge G\u00e1lvez asked the Public Prosecutor\u2019s Office to extend the investigation and execute more arrest warrants for others accused in the case. \u201cThe capture of Toribio Acevedo was the final straw,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EOn May 11, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.prensalibre.com\/guatemala\/justicia\/panama-captura-y-entrega-a-guatemala-al-exmilitar-toribio-acevedo-ramirez-senalado-en-el-caso-diario-militar-breaking\/\"\u003EAcevedo was captured in Panama\u003C\/a\u003E while attempting to flee to Spain. That same day, M\u00e9ndez Ruiz filed the accusation against G\u00e1lvez that led to the current impeachment process.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Supreme Court of Justice had rejected two previous impeachment attempts against G\u00e1lvez in July, but this time, those same magistrates \u2014 a third of them are on the Engel List \u2014 immediately processed the new complaint, despite the fact that there were at least \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/lahora.gt\/nacionales\/diego\/2022\/08\/21\/juez-galvez-por-antejuicio-no-es-un-proceso-es-un-juicio-politico-en-mi-contra\/\"\u003E40 other pending impeachment petitions\u003C\/a\u003E against other officials.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EJudge G\u00e1lvez claims that the current configuration of power within Guatemala's various state institutions is what will determine his future, and that of the rest of the judges in the country. \u201cThe problem is that they\u2019ve had the benefit of controlling all the country\u2019s institutions,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says. \u201cTake the executive, for example: the president has very little popular support at the national level, but he has the luxury of controlling all the institutions.\u201d G\u00e1lvez says that the ruling party has allies and accomplices in Congress, in the Public Prosecutor\u2019s Office, the judiciary, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. \u201cI am extremely concerned about the rule of law at all levels. It\u2019s something we can\u2019t talk about,\u201d G\u00e1lvez says.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=38211\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Judge Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez during the trial of former Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested on corruption charges in Guatemala City on August 24, 2015. Prosecutors and officials from a UN investigative commission uncovered extensive evidence implicating Baldetti and President Otto P\u00e9rez Molina in a massive and highly organized scheme to reduce customs duties for importers in exchange for bribes. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EJudge Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez during the trial of former Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti, who was arrested on corruption charges in Guatemala City on August 24, 2015. Prosecutors and officials from a UN investigative commission uncovered extensive evidence implicating Baldetti and President Otto P\u00e9rez Molina in a massive and highly organized scheme to reduce customs duties for importers in exchange for bribes. Photo: Johan Ord\u00f3\u00f1ez\/AFP\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn October, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/lahora.gt\/nacionales\/la-hora\/2022\/10\/20\/comite-de-la-onu-preocupado-por-la-intimidacion-y-represalias-a-jueces-y-fiscales\/\"\u003Edenounced\u003C\/a\u003E Guatemala\u2019s lack of institutional protection for judges and other judicial personnel facing persecution. There is a reason that \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/elpais.com\/internacional\/2022-10-28\/miguel-angel-galvez-los-militares-quieren-imponer-el-terror-en-guatemala.html\"\u003E28 of Guatemala\u2019s former judges, prosecutors and lawyers\u003C\/a\u003E are now living in exile.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn July, a website called \u201cLa Panel\u201d (a reference to \u201cLa Panel Blanca,\u201d or \u201cThe White Van,\u201d a vehicle \u003Ca href=\"http:\/\/hrlibrary.umn.edu\/iachr\/C\/76-ing.html\"\u003Eassociated with enforced disappearances\u003C\/a\u003E during Guatemala\u2019s internal armed conflict) announced that it was ready to receive the go-ahead from President Giammattei to \u201cdisappear the new subversive guerrillas, who hide behind the FECI and the high-risk courts.\u201d The text included various military slogans.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EHerbert P\u00e9rez, G\u00e1lvez\u2019s lawyer, says that the complaint that prompted the impeachment process against the judge lacks solid evidence. He says the FCT\u2019s complaint included a table featuring information on five defendants that was copied and pasted from page 38 of a report from the Centro de Investigaciones Econ\u00f3micas Nacionales (CIEN) from 2018, titled \u201cLa prisi\u00f3n preventiva en Guatemala\u201d (\u201cPreventive Detention in Guatemala\u201d). The FCT accuses G\u00e1lvez of remanding the five defendants to \u201cprisi\u00f3n provisional\u201d (\u201cprovisional detention\u201d), a term that does not exist in Guatemalan law.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ENotably, only two of these rulings were actually issued by G\u00e1lvez. The other three were handed down by different judges, whom the FCT did not denounce. The same CIEN report also revealed that several judges, not only G\u00e1lvez, have used the term \u201cprovisional detention\u201d as a synonym for \u201cpreventive detention,\u201d the standard term used in Guatemalan law.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ELast July, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights again \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.agenciaocote.com\/blog\/2022\/07\/15\/la-cidh-ordena-medidas-urgentes-para-proteger-el-derecho-de-victimas-y-la-independencia-del-juez-galvez\/\"\u003Eordered the Guatemalan state\u003C\/a\u003E to adopt urgent measures to protect G\u00e1lvez. Even so, the judge appeared to be on the verge of losing his immunity. The Supreme Court rejected all of G\u00e1lvez's legal appeals to stop the impeachment, and no action has been taken on any of the appeals for relief he has filed before the Constitutional Court and other instance courts.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2014Was your impeachment already decided from the outset?\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2014Of course. The threats started coming from every direction on May 6, and the following week I informed the Supreme Court of Justice that I felt under threat and that my judicial independence was under threat. Because, as I see it, they were not threatening Miguel \u00c1ngel G\u00e1lvez; they were threatening Judge G\u00e1lvez in my jurisdictional function. And the court, instead of protecting me, moved forward with the impeachment process. They are limiting the exercise of my right to a defense.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Supreme Court \u200b\u200bwarned G\u00e1lvez\u2019s lawyer that he could face sanction for filing so many appeals, or could even be forced off the case. G\u00e1lvez says that his observations of the impeachment process thus far left him with little doubt:\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2014If this were a legal process, it wouldn\u2019t be a problem, but this is a political process. What finally showed me just how bad things had gotten, was during the public hearing before the Constitutional Court, when [lawyer Ra\u00fal Falla of the FCT] had the gall to publicly insult me, to deliver speech full of hate, and to treat the magistrates with disrespect. He even ended his tirade saying, \u201cYour honors, I hope you won\u2019t turn out to be caricatures by approving the injunction petition for this corrupt judge.\u201d Who put him in his place so that he would respect the court? Nobody. That\u2019s when I knew that someone was pulling the strings.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2015Who?\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2015Who\u2019s financing the Foundation and all of this? It certainly gives the impression that there\u2019s someone higher up, and that these guys are just pawns who show their faces in public and do the dirty work.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn the hearing before the Constitutional Court, Ra\u00fal Falla said that G\u00e1lvez would end up \u201c\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=08vg5EtPJKA\"\u003Ein jail or on the run\u003C\/a\u003E.\u201d Now, the judge has renounced his position and is in exile. He says he feels like he is both a witness to Guatemala\u2019s gradual consolidation of the rule of law in recent years, and now, a sudden victim of its rapid regression.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2014It puts an end to the rule of law. We\u2019re talking about violations not only of constitutional guarantees, but also procedural ones.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2014What future do you see?\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u2014That the next president will be one of theirs, and that the worst is yet ahead. That\u2019s when the population will react. For me these are all natural changes, and at the moment there\u2019s no other option. They\u2019ve taken everything, especially the Supreme Electoral Tribunal [the highest authority in the country on electoral matters]. Some of those magistrates were involved in falsifying titles and qualifications. Logically, they won\u2019t prosecute them, but they have them by their tails, under their control.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAt what was once his home, Judge G\u00e1lvez kept several folders containing printed-out news articles and tweets and newspaper clippings related to his targeting and harassment.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u201cThese shady types post everything on social media, and we still don\u2019t understand what they\u2019re saying,\u201d he said two weeks before leaving for Costa Rica, \u201cThey play bingo with us on social media. They have photos of all of us and when they take someone out, they put an X on their face. The only ones left, before they finally call bingo, are yours truly and Yassmin Barrios. Once they get us, the game is up.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp style=\"text-align: right;\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cem\u003E*Translated by Max Granger\u003C\/em\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"}