[JURIST] Former Guatemalan president Otto Pérez Molina [JURIST news archive], labeled a “flight risk,” was jailed in a preventive prison pending investigation [El Periódico report, in Spanish] on Tuesday following an indictment over corruption charges. The judge gave the prosecution three months to conduct an investigation and then the trial against Pérez Molina will commence [AFP report]. The judge also thought it was beneficial for Pérez Molina to remain in jail during the investigation because as the former president he may be able to influence witnesses and hinder the investigation if free.
Pérez Molina sent [JURIST report] a letter [El Periódico materials, in Spanish] to both the Guatemalan congress and reporters last Thursday announcing his resignation and his intention to “stand before justice.” The day before his resignation, Pérez Molina was stripped of his presidential immunity [JURIST report] by a unanimous vote by congress. After Pérez Molina announced [JURIST report] last month that he had no plans to resign, Guatemala’s Supreme Court approved [JURIST report] prosecutors’ requests to impeach the president. In July the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) [official website] reported that approximately a quarter of the money used for Guatemalan political campaigns comes from criminal groups. The day before, the commission petitioned to take away the immunity of one of Guatemala’s vice presidential contender, Edgar Barquin for allegedly laundering money that was used to fund his political campaign. In February former Guatemalan president Alfonso Portillo was released [JURIST report] from a US prison after serving a sentence for taking bribes from Taiwan.