The Public Ministry (MP) confirmed yesterday that for several weeks it began the process to issue the international arrest warrant against former Attorney General Thelma Aldana.
So far, 38 months have passed since Aldana left Guatemala and is in asylum in Washington DC, United States, for which, according to the MP’s spokesman, the paperwork is being done to be able to claim her and present her before the country’s justice system, for allegedly having committed the crime of fraud.
The spokesman announced that the international application process is for the case called Gerencial Asunción, a plot about the alleged overvalued purchase of a building for Q35 million for that institution, in zone 5, an event that was declared harmful on September 25. of 2020.
The case arose from a complaint filed by Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, from the Anti-Terrorism Foundation, and a specific congressional commission that was formed to oversee the acquisition, chaired by Juan Ramón Lau, together with Delia Back, Fernando Linares Beltranena, Edna Soto and Stuart Galdamez.
The Internal Affairs Prosecutor indicated that for the purchase of the property there were a series of anomalies and the provisions of the State Procurement Law were not complied with, since there was no Procurement and Contracting Norms and Procedures Manual to carry out the purchase.
The international requirement could also involve three former prosecutors and a former judge who are in the same situation and accumulate several complaints, of which indications and evidence are still being collected. For this reason, Pantaleón explained, the arrest warrant against these people has not yet been requested.
Among the group, former judge Erika Aifán stands out, who left Guatemala on March 21 of this year and who has 29 complaints. In addition, the former head of the Special Prosecutor against Impunity, Juan Francisco Sandoval, who also left the country on July 25, 2021 and has 58 complaints against him.
For his part, former prosecutor Rudy Herrera Lemus, who stopped working at the MP on February 3, 2022 and days later left the country, has six complaints against him. Another former prosecutor in a similar situation is Andreí González Arteaga, who left Guatemala on October 15, 2019. Nine complaints were filed against the latter related to her work in the MP.
It may interest you: MP requests extradition procedure for Thelma Aldana, accused of irregularities in the purchase of a building for Q35 million
The MP must request the international arrest warrant from the International Police (Interpol), which should receive the documentation at its headquarters in Paris, France.
Interpol receives alerts from the police of the member states, such as the case of Guatemala, about people who have allegedly committed a serious crime and fled the country, said former Foreign Minister Édgar Gutiérrez.
The former official added that the request in question must be managed with the National Civil Police (PNC), and it “sends the identification data of the wanted person, including photos, and when he is located, he is provisionally detained pending extradition.” .
The State of Guatemala would have to present a cause to request extradition from the United States, “but they would not give it merit, because once political asylum was granted, it would not proceed,” Gutiérrez explained.
He pointed out that an extradition is more likely to succeed if it were crimes of genocide or war crimes.
Interpol reviews the request and after analyzing it determines “whether it proceeds or not”. If accepted, it activates the so-called red alert.
In the case of Aldana, according to Gutiérrez, the international arrest warrant “is not applicable, because the country that has already granted asylum and may not recognize a criminal case, but rather a political persecution,” he said.
In the opinion of former Foreign Minister Gabriel Orellana, the request in reference “what it does is replace the figure of extradition” and in some way shortens the development of the process. However, they want to base this order “on events that happened a long time ago and is aimed at people who are politically sheltered and who are in a political refugee status”, which would prevent it from prospering.
Orellana perceives that said request “tends to be a publicity stunt, rather than a request in good faith,” and with these actions the MP “is going to put a carnation in his buttonhole, making the pantomime that he is moving to capture certain persons”.
This is the second time that the MP processes an international arrest warrant against Thelma Aldana. The first was on June 2, 2019, when the Tenth Criminal Judge of the First Instance, Víctor Manuel Cruz Rivera, submitted the request to the National Civil Police and the head of Interpol to raise the international red alert and speed up the location, capture and extradition of the former attorney general.
He is implicated in the allegedly irregular hiring of Gustavo Bonilla, former dean of the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC), in November 2014, as a trainer in the MP, without his ever getting to work.
The MP points to Aldana for hiring Bonilla under line 029, from January 6 to December 31, 2015, with a payment of Q16 thousand 774.19 in January and another 11 salaries of Q20 thousand between February and December, for a total of Q236 thousand 774.19.
This international capture request was rejected on September 4, 2020 by Interpol, the date on which Aldana was notified.