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Member of CONAPAMG Threatened

September 21, 2006

Roly Escobar Ochoa (m), member of the National Coordination of Marginalised Communities and Areas of Guatemala (Coordinadora Nacional de Pobladores y Areas Marginadas de Guatemala, CONAPAMG) Other CONAPAMG members

Carmen Sagastume (f), member of CONAPAMG

Roly Escobar Ochoa, a member of the National Coordination of Marginalized Communities and Areas of Guatemala (Coordinadora Nacional de Pobladores y Areas Marginadas de Guatemala, CONAPAMG) has been threatened. This appears to be an attempt to dissuade the organization from demanding justice for the murder of CONAPMG member Carmen Sagastume. Amnesty International believes that the lives of Roly Escobar and his colleagues may be in danger.

Carmen Sagastume, who campaigned on behalf of women for CONAPAMG, was killed on 18 August. At 6am that day, two men knocked on her front door and asked for her husband, a senior member of CONAPAMG. She answered that he was not at home. The men shot her dead.

On 9 September Roly Escobar received information of plans to kill him. In response to his attempts to publicize the killing of Carmen Sagastume, two unidentified individuals allegedly spoke of plans to kill him. Witnesses saw these two unidentified individuals putting loaded weapons into a car and driving off. The witnesses then telephoned Roly Escobar to warn him, leading Roly Escobar to leave his home and go into hiding. CONAPMG later identified one of the two men who allegedly talked of killing Roly Escobar as one of those whom they consider to be a suspect in the killing of Carmen Sagastume.

On 12 September, a hearse was parked for several hours close to the headquarters of CONAPAMG. The same hearse had been used to transport the body of Carmen Sagastume. This was considered by CONAPMG to be an act of intimidation.

On 14 September, from approximately 2am to 6am, a man wearing a black cap and black sweater stood outside the home of Roly Escobar. After some time Roly Escobar's neighbors approached the man to ask what he was doing. As they approached him, the man covered his face and ran off.

On 20 September, from approximately 2am until 6am, two men wearing dark clothing stood outside the house of the former wife of Roly Escobar and their children. Roly Escobar phoned the police but they did not come to investigate.

Both the killing of Carmen Sagastume and the threats against Roly Escobar are being investigated by the Public Prosecutor's Office and the National Civil Police. Amnesty International understands that to date no significant progress has been made in either investigation.

CONAMPAMG works on issues of access to housing, public services and ownership legalization for poor urban and rural communities across Guatemala. On 4 July 2004 their office was broken into, and files, bills, computer files and money was stolen. In March 2005, Miguel Zapeta Gonzalez, resident and leader of the community ''Esquipulas'' in zone 21 of Guatemala City, and a member of CONAPMG, was killed. Nobody has been brought to justice for these crimes. The communities affiliated to CONAPAMG are frequently evicted and there are reportedly more evictions pending.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
- expressing concern for the safety of Roly Escobar Ochoa as well as other members of the CONAPAMG;
- urging the authorities to carry out a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation into the death threats received by Roly Escobar and the killing of Carmen Sagastume, with the results of the investigation to be made public, and those responsible brought to justice;
- urging the authorities to guarantee the safety of Roly Escobar Ochoa and other members of the CONAPAMG, in accordance with their own wishes,
- reminding the authorities that human rights defenders have a right to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Minister of Interior:
Ing. Carlos Roberto Vielmann Montes
Ministro de Gobernacion
6a. Avenida 4-64, zona 4, nivel 3
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Fax: 011 502 2362 0237 / 2361 5902 / 2362 0020 (ask for
''tono de fax, por favor'')
Salutation: Dear Minister/Estimado Sr. Ministro

Attorney General:
Licenciado Juan Luis Florido
Fiscal General de la Republica y Jefe del Ministerio Publico
8a. Avenida 10-67, Zona 1
Antiguo Edificio del Banco de los Trabajadores
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Fax: 011 502 2251 2218
Salutation: Dear Sir/Estimado Fiscal General

6a Avenida, 14-33, 4o Nivel
Oficina 402
Edificio Bris
Zona 1, Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA

Ambassador Jose Guillermo Castillo
Embassy of Guatemala
2220 R St. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 745 1908

Please send appeals immediately. Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if sending appeals after 2 November 2006.





















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