Human Rights and Protection of Lawyers | GUATEMALA

Guatemala - Joint Statement in Support of Guatemalan Lawyer Claudia González, Condemning her Detention and Calling for her immediate Release

"On the morning of 28 August 2023, lawyer Claudia González was arrested, charged with the crime of abuse of authority. The arrest took place following a search of her home ordered by the Public Prosecutor's Office, as part of the alleged investigation proceedings against her”.

Claudia González Orellana is a former representative of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) – a UN-backed anti-corruption mechanism charged with investigating and prosecuting serious crimes in the country – and a committed legal counsel for several former colleagues from the CICIG and other former prosecutors. Due to her work, González Orellana has already faced threats and harassment, including multiple cases of judiciary harassment.

In recognition of her work and commitment, she was awarded  the 2023 Lawyers for Lawyers Award.

Ms González Orellana is reportedly being held in solitary confinement during her pre-trial detention. The next hearing on her case is scheduled for September 6, 2023, despite the requirement under Guatemalan law that it take place within 24 hours of her detention.

The UIA-IROL joined the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (OIAD), Lawyers for Lawyers, and more than 20 other organisations* to condemn the arrest of González Orellana and urge the Guatemalan authorities to:

“1. Immediately and unconditionally release lawyer Claudia González.

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the rights to due process, legal defence and access to justice in the case of Claudia González.

3. Guarantee that all lawyers in Guatemala are able to carry out their legitimate professional activities without fear of reprisals and free of all undue restrictions including judicial harassment arbitrary arrest, deprivation of liberty or other arbitrary sanctions”.