Amnesty International calls on Guatemala to investigate political killings

June 18th, 2011 - 9:12 am ICT by BNO News  

LONDON (BNO NEWS) — Amnesty International on Friday urged authorities in Guatemala to investigate a series of alleged politically motivated killings.

The London-based human rights group released a statement after a mayoral candidate was shot dead near Guatemala City. Enrique Dardón, who was running for mayor of San José Pinula, is the third political candidate to be killed since May, when campaigning began for presidential and general elections in September.

“The increase in politically related violence in the run-up to elections is a consequence of the state’s failure to tackle the persistent problem of impunity,” said Sebastian Elgueta, Central America Researcher at Amnesty International. “The authorities must send a clear message that political violence will not be tolerated, by promptly identifying all those responsible and bringing them to justice in fair trials that meet international standards.”

Augusto Ovalle Barrera, a doctor who was also running for mayor of San José Pinula, was shot dead last Saturday along with two of his assistants. On May 8, Darwin Gallardo, a candidate for mayor in Atescatempa, Jutiapa, was shot dead outside his office.

The Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office reported that from January to May 2011 there were 20 killings related to political violence and 15 people were injured.

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