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Police chief on trial for murder

The public prosecutor’s office of Ried/Innkreis, Upper Austria, brought murder charges against the former police chief of Guatemala. The man, who lived in the region of Innviertel for years, is accused of the murder of seven opponents.

The murders are believed to have been committed in the morning of 25 September 2006. Together with more than 17 further state officials, the former vice director of the criminal police is accused of having set up a list of 25 people, who should have been eliminated for the sake of the political regime.

Seven people who were inmates of the prison in Pavon, Guatemala, were shot by a group of masked offenders. The official story was that the inmates attacked the police and died in the fight.

However, the change of power led to international searches for the guilty people of the massacre and a special commission was set up.

As part of the investigations, the 42-year-old man was found in the district of Schärding, where he has been living as an asylum seeker since 2007. He has been in custody awaiting trial since December 2011.

The public prosecutor’s office has now brought murder charges against the man, after having evaluated more than 10,000 pages of documents. The man will not be extradited due to human rights regulations. The proceedings against the former police chief will thus take place in Ried/Innkreis.

Nine witnesses from Guatemala will be heard in court and 54 written statements and forensic autopsy reports will be read out loud. The proceedings will start in autumn and last for a while, the spokesperson of the public prosecutor’s office stated.

The defendant refutes the charges. He is facing life imprisonment.

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