Guatemala, June 20, 2013. On Thursday, the prosecutor's office attached to the National High Court of Spain requested that Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez try former Minister of the Interior Carlos Vielmann for ordering the killing of ten prisoners in 2005 and 2006 at the Pavón and El Infiernito prisons.
MADRID - The prosecutor Pedro Martínez Torrijos made this request before the judge after the National High Court cancelled the extradition of Vielmann to Guatemala in February 2012. The extradition was cancelled because Guatemalan authorities discontinued extradition proceedings and, hence, it was decided that Vielmann should be prosecuted in Spain, pursuant to a complaint filed by the prosecutor's office in relation to the same facts.
The prosecutor called for Vielmann, who has held Spanish citizenship since 2009, to be tried for forming a "parallel criminal structure" together with other high-ranking officials whilst he served as Minister of the Interior. This structure, in turn, created an "illegal security force" to carry out actions or commit crimes against individuals indentified as "targets to be eliminated".
Of the actions taken, the prosecutor's office accuses Vielmann of ten extrajudicial killings: seven inmates at Pavón prison on September 25, 2006, and three at the El Infiernito maximum security prison in November and December 2005.
The ten inmates in question had fled from the two prisons along with other inmates, and, after being recaptured, they were murdered. In addition, to make it appear that the murders were the result of an armed confrontation with the authorities, the "crime scene was tampered with and hand grenades and a non-firing rifle were planted on the bodies,” said the prosecutor.
"This was how the parallel criminal organization, made up of Vielmann and his accomplices used the material and human resources of the State to recapture the inmates, as they were legally obliged to do so. However, they were fully aware that the inmates, once recaptured, would not be handed over to the prison authorities," said the prosecutor.
In his argument, the prosecutor indicated that "the officers who captured the inmates were ordered to hand them over to the defendant and other individuals in order to kill them".
After being arrested for a second time on December 16, 2010 (the first time being on October 13, 2010), Vielmann was released on a bail of EUR 100,000 by order of the head of the court where Gómez Bermúdez served, Fernando Grande-Marlaska. Grande-Marlaska is currently the present of the Criminal Chamber of the National High-Court.
Vielmann, in his statement during the extradition hearing, which was later shelved, said the operation had formed part of a "wider, comprehensive security plan, with the support of the Government, in which various Government offices were involved".
He explained that the "Government, the diplomatic corps and the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman were continually informed" of the operation's progress.
"At no point was I involved in the execution of the plan. I entered the premises, together with other authorities, once control of the prison had been recovered, and I was not able to enter the cordoned off zones where the confrontations between the security forces and prisoners had taken place," stated Vielmann.