Switzerland bars MP, prosecutors, and Judge for ‘threatening democracy’

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By LatAm Reports Editor

María Consuelo Porras, Ángel Pineda and Rafael Curruchiche are on the ban on entering the European country.

MP prosecutors are sanctioned by Switzerland for actions taken during the electoral process. 

The Swiss government announced on Wednesday the imposition of sanctions against five Guatemalan officials for trying to prevent the inauguration of President Bernardo Arévalo de León after his triumph in the elections, a measure that aligns with that taken by the European Union on February 2.

These sanctions affect Guatemala’s Attorney General, María Consuelo Porras Argueta de Porres, and four other officials of the Attorney General’s Office: Secretary General Ángel Arnoldo Pineda Ávila, the head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity, José Rafael Curruchiche Cucul, prosecutor Leonor Eugenia Morales Lazo de Sánchez and Judge Fredy Raúl Orellana Letona.

After his victory in the August 2023 elections, Arévalo de León went through difficulties in being invested as president because the Prosecutor’s Office, headed by Consuelo Porras, filed several criminal cases against his person and his political party, the Seed Movement.

These actions carried out by those sanctioned “would have tried to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power” in the Central American country and pose “a threat to democracy and the rule of law,” according to the Swiss government.

Through the restrictive measures, which enter into force this afternoon, the Confederation prohibits Consuelo Porras and the other four members of the Public Prosecutor’s Office from entering the Swiss country and subject them to financial sanctions.

Several countries have sanctioned the Attorney General and staff of the Public Prosecutor ' s Office for the actions taken against the 2023 electoral process in Guatemala.

The U.S. State Department was one of the first international entities to issue sanctions against MP prosecutors, and included Porras Argueta in a list of people it considers corrupt actors.

The European Union has also ruled against the legal actions taken by the MP against the voting process and judges of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

The legal actions taken by Porras and other prosecutors also caused rejection by sectors of civil society in Guatemala.

Public Prosecutor’s Office pronounces itself

After the publication of the sanction, the Public Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement on its social networks.

“Again, the overflowing intention of wanting to obstruct the investigative work of the Public Prosecutor’s Office is demonstrated by the use and abuse of diplomatic relations that should ensure respect for the rights of the States parties,” the investigating body said.

“These spurious, biased and undemocratic remarks show the desperation to have a public prosecutor’s office attached and complacent to ensure impunity and corruption,” he added.  

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Prensa Libre