Guatemalan Congress strips President of immunity from prosecution

Guatemala City, Sep 2 (IANS) Guatemalan Congress voted to strip President Otto Perez Molina of his immunity from prosecution amid a corruption investigation into the role he had played in a customs fraud ring.

The legislative assembly voted unanimously, with 132 votes in favor to zero against, to strip Perez Molina. After a petition from the country’s attorney general last week to the Supreme Court, the judicial body supported the motion and asked Congress to put it to a vote, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

Perez Molina is accused of having led the “La Linea” criminal operation, for which more than 20 public officials, including former Vice President Roxana Baldetti, have already been arrested.

La Linea allegedly allowed foreign enterprises to import goods into Guatemala without paying customs tariffs through bribing officials instead. Perez Molina and Baldetti had allegedly personally pocketed 50 percent of the illicit proceeds.

On August 27, massive protests broke out across Guatemalan cities, with shops closed and tens of thousands of people taking to street to demand the president’s resignation.

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