Two assistant prosecutors from the Special Prosecutor's Office against Impunity were detained for allegedly coercing a person into giving testimony, a spokesman for the Public Ministry said.

Earlier this week, the Salvadoran investigative media outlet El Faro reported that President Alejandro Giammattei received illicit money for his 2019 presidential campaign, sparking widespread outrage.
Earlier this week, the Salvadoran investigative media outlet El Faro reported that President Alejandro Giammattei received illicit money for his 2019 presidential campaign, sparking widespread outrage. (Reuters)

The Guatemalan Prosecutor's Office have confirmed on the arrest of two assistant prosecutors from the Special Prosecutor's Office against Impunity (FECI), the latest in a string of detentions of anti-corruption officials.

Wednesday's arrests occurred in the midst of a brewing political scandal that has shaken the Central American nation. 

Earlier this week, the Salvadoran investigative media outlet El Faro reported that President Alejandro Giammattei received illicit money for his 2019 presidential campaign, sparking widespread outrage. 

Giammattei's press secretary has denied the allegations.

Luis Pantaleon, spokesman for the Public Ministry, told Reuters news agency the two assistant prosecutors were facing charges of abuse of authority for allegedly coercing a person into giving testimony.

"By means of threats, violence or an intimidating process, they tried to force the complainant to sign an effective collaboration agreement," a statement from the Public Ministry said.

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Pending arrest warrants for two more

Both assistant prosecutors were involved in uncovering a corruption plot between lawyers, politicians and businessmen to elect judges. 

Guatemalan authorities say arrest warrants are pending against two more assistant prosecutors involved in that case.

It was the second time within a week that people working on high-level anti-corruption cases have been arrested.

Last Thursday, authorities arrested Leyly Santizo, a lawyer who worked with the now-defunct International Commission against Impunity (CICIG), the UN-backed entity that was expelled from Guatemala in 2018, after probes by the commission led to the imprisonment of former presidents, and high-level businessmen involved in corruption. 

Days later, authorities also detained Eva Sosa, a former FECI prosecutor.

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Human rights organisations and the international community condemned the arrests of anti-corruption officials.

On Tuesday night, the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry published a statement to "demand" that diplomatic agents accredited in the country "refrain from intervening in internal affairs."

Source: Reuters