Guatemala CICIG Attacks Rep. Pic
The Guatemalan government announced that they will be pursuing charges against Colombian Defense Minister Iván Velásquez for his role in the U.N.-backed anti-corruption mission known as CICIG. This is a representational image. Tingey Injury Law Firm/Unsplash.

Guatemala has taken into custody a well-known lawyer and former representative of the United Nations-backed anti-corruption commission, sending shockwaves through international circles.

Claudia González is known for advocating accountability for those involved in government misconduct and organized crime.

González told reporters Monday that she's accused of abuse of authority by a public servant even when she wasn't a government employee during her time in the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Al Jazeera reported.

Both the United Nations and its member nations condemned González's arrest.

At a Monday briefing, a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres "noted with concern reports of recent raids and arrest warrants against Guatemalan prosecutors," naming Gonzalez among them.

In a post shared on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, the U.S. State Department said it "categorically condemns the abuse of prosecutorial powers by [Guatemala's Public Ministry]."

"The United States categorically condemns the abuse of prosecutorial powers by @MPguatemala to intimidate those like Claudia Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Sandoval, and Eva Siomara Sosa who seek transparency and accountability in their country," the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, wrote on X.

Eva Siomara Sosa was arrested in 2022, and Juan Francisco Sandoval fled Guatemala in 2021, fearing for his safety.

González's case sheds light on a broader issue, as President Alejandro Giammattei's administration is under fire for allegedly targeting individuals tied to the U.N.-backed anti-corruption mission CICIG in Guatemala. This move, suspected as an election-year strategy to secure conservative support, has raised concerns about the nation's anti-corruption efforts.

Around 30 judges, magistrates, and prosecutors who were actively engaged in investigating corruption cases were forced to leave Guatemala due to legal actions taken against them, ABC reported.

One of the most impressive achievements of the CICIG has been how it successfully investigated and brought charges against President Otto Pérez Molina, who was accused of setting up a customs corruption ring with the help of high-ranking officials in the tax and customs administration. He was forced to resign along with his cabinet in 2015.

The U.S. government has been vocal about its perceived concerns about decreasing anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala. Washington canceled the visa of Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras last year, because he was targeting former prosecutors who carried out corruption investigations.

González's arrest follows the Guatemalan government's move to focus on Iván Velásquez, the former leader of the U.N.'s anti-corruption mission in Guatemala, despite his past success against corruption.

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