Four severed heads found in Guatemala

June 11th, 2010 - 1:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Guatemala City, June 11 (IANS/EFE) Four severed human heads have been found in different parts of this city, Guatemala’s interior minister said.
The heads were found Thursday, Interior Minister Carlos Menocal told reporters.

Several notes addressed to Menocal were found by the heads.

While one note demanded an end to impunity for corrupt officials, another read: “This is happening for all the abuses and injustices there are in the country’s prisons. If you don’t put the greatest interest and dedication toward the abuses, we will make the interior ministry and the penal system, which are already abusing authority, responsible for what happens from here on.”

The minister said only two bodies corresponding to the severed heads have been found so far.

He said the beheadings were likely the work of youth gangs or organised criminals, citing what he called unfounded complaints from jailed gang members about abuses and a lack of adequate food behind bars.

All of the 10,500 inmates in Guatemala’s prisons get three meals a day, Menocal said.

What the gang members are really upset about is a recent ban on their receiving conjugal visits or packages, the minister said, explaining that he imposed the restriction to stop the smuggling of weapons, drugs and cell-phone components into the prisons.

Vowing to maintain the ban, he said of the beheadings: “They don’t scare us.”

The appearance of the heads is a response to the pressure security forces are putting on organised crime, a spokesman for the national police force said earlier Thursday.

Donald Gonzalez said criminal elements were trying to exploit the situation created by Monday’s abrupt resignation of Spanish jurist Carlos Castresana as head of the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, known as CICIG.

The mandate of CICIG is to investigate and promote the prosecution of illegal security organizations. These powerful clandestine groups are allegedly responsible for frequent attacks against human rights defenders, as well as those involved in corruption, organized crime, drug trafficking and political violence.

Castresana said he quit because Guatemala was not fulfilling its commitments to CICIG and he demanded that President Alvaro Colom fire recently named Attorney General Conrado Reyes, whom the Spaniard accused of ties to criminal outfits.

Colom subsequently ordered an investigation of Castresana’s allegations against Reyes.

–IANS/EFE

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