A Swiss man suspected of being responsible for the execution-style killing of prisoners in Guatemala is being investigated by the Geneva justice authorities.
Geneva’s chief prosecutor, Daniel Zappelli, has confirmed that an examining magistrate was looking into the case of the 40-year-old man, who holds dual Swiss and Guatemalan nationality.
The Geneva authorities have come under pressure in recent days from among others the human rights organisations Amnesty International and Track Impunity Always, who demanded his arrest in accordance with a request from the general prosecutor in Guatemala.
The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), set up by the United Nations, says the man, who served as head of Guatemala’s Civil National Police from 2004-2007, was involved in a criminal organisation responsible not only for murder but also for kidnapping, blackmail, robbery and drug dealing.
The suspect has denied the accusations. He told the Blick newspaper that he fled Guatemala in 2007 because he and his son had received death threats.
He describes himself as the victim of a “defamation campaign” and “political manoeuvres” because of his efforts to reign in drug dealers.
For the past three years he has been living in Geneva, where Blick says his father is Guatemala’s permanent representative to the World Trade Organisation.
Folco Galli, spokesman for the Swiss Justice Office, confirmed to swissinfo.ch that Guatemala had not submitted a formal request for judicial assistance over the case. He added that Switzerland could not extradite one of its own citizens, but could, if asked, undertake a prosecution on behalf of Guatemala.
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