Posted 2009/4/3

Guatemala – Kidnapping and torture of Ms Gladys Monterroso, wife of Attorney General for Human Rights, Dr Sergio Fernando Moral

Dr. Sergio Fernando Morales alvarado and his wife Gladys Monterroso

Front Line is deeply concerned following reports that Ms Gladys Monterroso, a lawyer and the wife of Dr Sergio Fernando Morales Alvarado, the Attorney General for Human Rights in Guatemala, was kidnapped and tortured on 25 March 2009.

On 25 March 2009, in Guatemala City, Gladys Monterroso was kidnapped and tortured before being released early in the morning the following day. Following her release she had to be taken to hospital. On the day before the kidnapping, the Historic Archive of the National Police was made public by the Office of the Attorney General and Dr Sergio Fernando Morales Alvarado, among others, presented a related report entitled El Derecho a Saber (The Right to Know) to a group which included the Vice-President of Guatemala.

This month, an investigator from the Office of the Attorney General for Human Rights was brutally beaten. Meanwhile, threats have increased against Sergio Fernando Morales Alvarado. The Historic Archive had been discovered on 5 July 2005 and since then has been in the care of the Office of the Attorney General for Human Rights. It contains evidence of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, committed during the civil war in Guatemala between 1960 and 1996. Indeed, the evidence in the Historic Archive was used to facilitate the arrest, two weeks ago, of two former police offers accused of disappearing trade union member Mr Fernando García, husband of Ms Nineth Montenegro, founder of the human rights non-governmental organisation Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo – GAM (Mutual Support Group).

Front Line believes that the kidnapping and torture of Gladys Monterroso may be directly related to the work of Sergio Fernando Morales Alvarado in the defence of human rights. Front Line sees this as part of an ongoing pattern of harassment against Sergio Fernando Morales Alvarado and the Office of the Attorney General for Human Rights. Front Line is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Gladys Monterroso, Sergio Fernando Morales Alvarado, and all employees of the Office of the Attorney General for Human Rights.

Action Update Needed. Before taking further action on this case please contact info@frontlinedefenders.org for further information