Guatemala: Portillo Extradited

"... Portillo became president for the Guatemalan Republican Front, the movement of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. ... In the 2007 elections, Ríos Montt, 82, won a seat for a four-year term in Congress, giving himself immunity and derailing a mounting case against him for genocide committed during his government. ..."

Former president faces corruption charges at home

10/16/2008

Former President Alfonso Portillo (2000-2004) was extradited from Mexico to his native Guatemala on Oct. 7 to face embezzlement charges.

Portillo complained upon his arrival that he was denied due process and that his case was turned into “nonsense.” He told a Guatemalan judge that he should not be tried for embezzlement because presidents “never make payments” and that is one of the requirements to be charged with the crime.

The Attorney General´s Office sought Portillo´s extradition in 2005 for allegedly illegally transferring US$16 million to the now defunct Presidential Guard. A year later, a Mexican judge ordered his extradition. The process took two years because of several injunctions sought by Portillo. Mexico´s Supreme Court knocked down Portillo's final attempt and again ordered his extradition to Guatemala.

Embezzlement in Guatemala carries a prison sentence of three to 10 years.

Judge Julio Xitumul freed Portillo on $130,000 bail after he declared the former president not to be a flight risk.

Portillo became president for the Guatemalan Republican Front, the movement of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt (1982-83), who unsuccessfully ran for president several times.

In the 2007 elections, Ríos Montt, 82, won a seat for a four-year term in Congress, giving himself immunity and derailing a mounting case against him for genocide committed during his government.

Portillo is the second former president in Latin America to be extradited in just over a year to face charges in his home country. On Sept. 22, 2007, former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was extradited from Chile and is currently on trial for murder and corruption charges. — Latinamerica Press.

http://www.latinamericapress.org/articles.asp?art=5731