High Risk Court “B” acquitted this Friday the 13th the former deputy Julio Juárez for the death of journalist Danilo López, who was a correspondent for Prensa Libre.
Judge Jeanette Valdés explained that the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (Feci) “did a bad job” of investigation and the hypothesis was based “in a political context”.
The president of the court also said that Marco Tulio Cano Reyna, a witness proposed by the defense, in his statement It was never clear that the former deputy had paid for the commission of the crime, as confirmed by the Prosecutor’s Office.
He added that it cannot be proven with certainty that the defendant “has paid for that violent act.”
“We are left with that doubt regarding the certainty that the acts issued by the experts should produce. The MP had the opportunity to interrogate the witness Marco Tulio Cano Reina, who was proposed by the defense (…) but spontaneously he does not declare, he does not affirm absolutely anything in relation to the fact that Mr. Julio Juárez was the one who paid for this crime” says the judge.
“Marco Tulio Cano Reina testified as a defendant, under reprimand, because he was being charged and the judge clearly warned him that the statement is a means of defense and not a means of proof and in that statement he says that he feared the death of the journalist was related to what Julio Juárez and his uncle were working on,” he continued.
He also said that “it was not proven that the now accused arrived at the central park of Mazatenango on board of a red pickaxe to which the victim was climbed”, as the Prosecutor’s Office had also stated, based on the testimonies.
He said that there are contradictions and inadequacies in the evidence provided, and this does not allow the ex-deputy to be linked to the death of the journalist.
The judge assured that the lack of support for the MP’s work “happens so that it cannot be determined with certainty if the now accused paid for this violent act, how the payment was made, since there were contradictory circumstances to truthfully support the circumstance, it was not proven that the now accused arrived at the central park of Mazatenango aboard a red pick-up that the victim got on and it was not explained how he communicated with her since the same evidence presented by the Prosecutor’s Office warns that since March 4 there was no communication between the now accused and the victim.”
It added that “the indispensable element with which the determination of the existence of the crime begins is an action, which in this case due to the contractions and the insufficiency of the evidence do not allow to determine the modality of the action attributed in the accusation”, for which Juárez cannot be linked to Sapon’s death.
From that account, the judge pointed out that “an acquittal must be issued” and order his immediate release.
The former deputy was accused of having paid Q25 thousand to a group of assassins to assassinate journalist Danilo Sapón López, in an incident in which journalist Federico Salazar also lost his life.
According to investigations by the Public Ministry and the former CICIG, Juárez paid Q25,000 to a group of hitmen to kill López. for “contradictions” regarding the candidacy for mayor of Cuyotenango, Suchitepéquez by the Leader party, active at the time.
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The attack was carried out when a group of journalists were talking in the central park of Mazatenango, in front of the Departmental Government, where an activity was held for Women’s Day.
The Prosecutor’s Office had requested the High Risk Court “B” that the former deputy be sentenced to 50 years in prison for his intellectual participation in the murder of the two journalists in Mazatenango, Suchitepéquez, on March 10, 2015.
Juárez Ramírez was elected deputy for the Leader party in the 2015 elections, but was captured in 2018 in the middle of his term as a legislator after losing parliamentary immunity due to the investigations against him.
In the attack, which took place on March 10, 2015 in broad daylight in a park in Mazatenango, the capital of Suchitepéquez, another communicator, Marvin Israel Túnchez Ayala, was also injured after the bursts fired by the hit men allegedly hired by Juárez. -then mayor of the neighboring municipality of Santo Tomás La Unión-.
At the end of December 2017, Juárez Ramírez was included in the List of Specially Designated Aliens of the United States Department of the Treasury, a decision that restricts him from traveling to that country, where his assets were also frozen.