The head of the European Union’s electoral observation mission, Jordi Cañas, said he was concerned about the actions of the prosecutor’s office.
A Guatemalan prosecutor announced Thursday that he will request the withdrawal of immunity from president-elect Bernardo Arévalo, his vice president, and lawmakers from the Semilla Movement whom he accused of making publications on social networks that encourage students to take the University of San Carlos in Guatemala for more than one year.
This was stated in a press conference by the prosecutor in charge of the case, Ángel Saúl Sánchez, while raids were carried out on several houses and attempts were made to arrest around 30 students, university professors, and members of the Semilla Party, including a journalist and former prosecutor of human rights.
The raids were requested by the Prosecutor’s Office against the Cultural Heritage of the Nation and authorized by Judge Victor Cruz for the seizure of the university between April 27, 2022, and June 9, 2023.
The prosecution accused the defendants of alleged continued aggravated usurpation, continued sedition, and illicit association.
Among the evidence that the prosecution has against the president-elect, according to the documents to which the AP agency has access, are the messages of X, which used to be called Twitter, in which Arévalo said: “We are allowed to see a ray of hope in Guatemala. Congratulations to the professional students and teachers who showed that things can be as different as they should be in Guatemala.”
The investigation began a few months ago, when many of the accused had already enjoyed immunity from their charges.
Marcela Blanco, a young activist from Semilla and former candidate, showed on her social networks that the prosecutor’s office came to her house to arrest her and that they intimidated her. “I am a citizen; I am a person, and they did this to me for speaking out against corruption. “I am asking for your support,” he said.
For his part, university professor Roberto Chang was detained, and when he arrived in handcuffs in court, he maintained that his arrest was the cost of denouncing corruption. “I am an honest and hardworking person,” he told reporters.
The head of the electoral observation mission of the European Union, Jordi Cañas, told the AP by telephone that he observes with deep concern and anger the actions of the prosecutor’s office and that those who run the institution “are a real threat to the rights and freedoms of the people of this country.”
“It is obvious that the Ministry of Public is making the cases; the use of tweets as an element of the accusation to request the lifting of the immunity of the person who will be the President of the Republic is completely useless. “It is a shame. “It is courage that the best thing the Guatemalan people can do is to give a peaceful, democratic response that lives up to the historic moment,” he said.
He stated that it was obvious that the prosecutor’s office had a “plan A, B, and C” that wanted to ensure that Arévalo did not sit down, but since they did not work, it created this type of accusation. “The Public Ministry is a threat to justice, rights, and freedom in the country,” he said.
This is not the only process against Arévalo and his party carried out by the prosecution led by Consuelo Porras with the purpose, according to Arévalo, of preventing him from assuming power on January 14 as planned.
The prosecution continues an attack against the electoral process, Arévalo, Semilla, electoral magistrates, and the more than 125,000 citizens who participated in the general election, who received, counted, and protected the vote of thousands of citizens that gave victory to the progressives.
Cañas presented his final report on Monday, where he reiterated that there was no fraud in the country, as claimed by the prosecution.
Students took over the facilities of the only public university in response to the election of rector Walter Mazariegos, who during the election only allowed voters, made up of professionals, students, and professors, to vote and to enter the polling place for him.
Mazariegos was punished by the US State Department for “undermining democratic processes and institutions by accepting the position of rector of a public education institution in July 2022 after a fraudulent selection process,” the government said in the US at the time.