For months, Guatemala’s democracy has been under attack by President Jimmy Morales and his supporters, most notably in September when the President moved to ban a years long investigation by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a UN body.
“This will serve to punish, for example, when a candidate or politician is linked to cases of corruption but in reality is not being investigated or accused,” Monte said. “That would be a kind of coercion and should be punished.”
“This also seeks to protect lawmakers, the vice president and the president,” she added.
Morales is suspected of accepting illicit campaign finance contributions, but a request to withdraw the immunity from prosecution that he enjoys as sitting president was not approved by congress. The president denies wrongdoing.
Human rights prosecutor Jordan Rodas warned that the measure is unconstitutional.
“It goes against the free expression of thought,” Rodas said. “Politicians should mind their actions to avoid criticism.”
The bill goes first to a congressional commission for analysis of its constitutionality. Two similar initiatives earlier this year were heavily criticized, including by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and failed to win approval by lawmakers.“