Indigenous activist accused of attacking Congress arrested in Guatemala

This content was published on 25 November 2021 – 00:40

(Updated with more information in the seventh paragraph, regarding the first statement hearing)

Guatemala City, Nov 24 (EFE) .- The Guatemalan National Civil Police (PNC) arrested the Mayan activist and poet Kaqchikel Nanci Paola Chiriz Sinto on Wednesday for her alleged participation in the damage caused to the Congress building on November 21 of 2020, when he was burned in a mass demonstration.

Chiriz Sinto was arrested and her home of residence was searched, as confirmed by the Public Ministry (MP, Prosecutor’s Office) through its communication channels.

The raid was carried out in conjunction with personnel from the Office of the Prosecutor for Crimes against Life and the Integrity of Persons, which is investigating Nanci Sinto for the alleged commission of the crime of depredation of cultural property.

Also, in a parallel operation, Juan Francisco Monroy Gómez was arrested, who was seized a sweatshirt, a backpack, a pair of boot-style shoes and a mobile phone; objects that are added to a backpack and a traditional skirt cut from the Guatemalan towns that was confiscated from Chiriz Sinto.

The Public Ministry said in a statement that the clothing and accessories were “seized” as evidence “to be analyzed to strengthen the investigation.”

Similarly, the MP indicated that the detainees had participated in the damage caused to the Congress building, in the placement of graffiti on the façade wall.

Judge Lluvia Isabel Velásquez assured, when deciding the hearing of the first statement, that for both accused “there are indications that possibly” could “have participated” in the painting of the building, which is a “national monument” and “cultural heritage” of the Central American country, for which he processed them with house arrest with a ban on leaving the country and a bond of about $ 650.

SINTO DEFENDS AGAINST ACCUSATIONS

Inside the dungeon of the Tower of Courts, Chiriz Sinto assured journalists that “they are repressing a way of organizing us and they want to scare us, punish us for demanding our rights, for demanding better services from the State, for demanding illegal budgets from the State.”

He added that she is not “any criminal, I did not do anything that violates the State or anyone, but rather say that the culprit and that damages the dignified life of the population is the same State, the same Government and the same institutions and that today those who should be in prison are free. “

Chiriz Sinto was previously a leader of the leftist opposition party Winaq Movement, founded by the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1992, Rigoberta Menchú Tum.

Winaq rejected “the criminalization” against the activist and the head of the bench in Congress, Sonia Gutiérrez Raguay assured that, in addition, there are those who took the opportunity to attack the group “politically”.

“Nanci Sinto is a person who has been characterized in terms of activists and human rights defenders. Last year we could notice the aggression of which she was subjected by the agents of the National Civil Police and what a coincidence that a year after the events now she is captured, “said Gutiérrez.

The demonstration for which the activist was detained took place on November 21, 2020, when thousands of Guatemalans demonstrated against the approval of a controversial budget by Congress, which led to the burning of its facilities by hooded men. .

Chiriz Sinto was attacked by a group of anti-riot agents in front of Congress during said demonstration on November 21, 2020, after the burning of the Parliament facilities, according to Efe.

The activist ran to evacuate the area, but the agents beat her and pushed her, causing her to bounce off the asphalt, until a photojournalist helped her to get up to leave the place.

The complaint against the activist Kaqchikel was transferred to the Twelfth Pluripersonal Court of First Criminal Instance specialized in Crimes against the Environment and Cultural Heritage.

At least two people lost an eye during the demonstrations due to alleged tear gas bombs thrown by the security forces. EFE

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Indigenous activist accused of attacking Congress arrested in Guatemala