Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, September 28, 2021

World

Guatemalan anti-graft crusader leaves country after being stripped of his post

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) -The former head of the Guatemalan Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI), Juan Francisco Sandoval, left the country early on Saturday morning, the country’s human rights ombudsman said.

“He left in the early hours of Saturday,” the ombudsman, Jordan Rodas, told Reuters. “The decision was made to safeguard his life.”

Guatemala’s Attorney General removed the internationally known graft prosecutor from his post on Friday as head of the anticorruption unit, prompting U.S. criticism that the move was a setback to the rule of law.

The unit was originally created to tackle investigations spearheaded by the U.N.-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which was ousted from the country in 2019.

Sandoval’s removal sparked a backlash from U.S. officials, including Acting Assistant Secretary of State Julie Chung, who called the move “a significant setback to rule of law” and said it was essential that FECI remain intact.

“It contributes to perceptions of a systemic effort to undermine those known to be fighting corruption,” Chung said on Twitter on Friday. “Guatemalan authorities must ensure his safety.”

Guatemalan civil society organizations say they are planning demonstrations on Saturday afternoon to protest Sandoval’s ouster and departure.

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala CityWriting by Laura GottesdienerEditing by Matthew Lewis)

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