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Guatemala arrests former UN anti-corruption commission representative

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemalan prosecutors on Monday arrested the former representative of a United Nations-backed anti-corruption commission that was expelled from the country several years ago.

The arrest of Claudia González is the latest chapter in the government’s systematic pursuit of those who worked with the U.N. anti-corruption mission, best known by its Spanish initials CICIG.

Interviewed outside the courthouse after her arrest, González said the charges were strange. She said she was charged with abuse of authority by a public servant, when in fact she was not a government employee when she served as legal representative of the CICIG.

González has most recently been acting as defense attorney for some of the dozens of former anti-corruption prosecutors and officials facing legal action from the current administration.

President Alejandro Giammattei's administration has been accused by civil society organizations and foreign governments of systemically pursuing those who worked with the U.N. mission.

Some 30 judges, magistrates and prosecutors involved in the investigation or processing of those corruption cases have been forced to flee the country after facing legal action.

Perhaps the CICIG’s greatest achievement was the investigation and prosecution of President Otto Pérez Molina, who was forced to resign along with his Cabinet in 2015.

Over 12 years, the CICIG supported Guatemala's Special Prosecutors Office Against Impunity in dismantling dozens of criminal networks while at the same time building its capacity to handle complex corruption cases.

Then President Jimmy Morales ended the CICIG mission in 2019 while he was under investigation.

The U.S. government has sharply criticized the weakening of anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala and last year cancelled the U.S. visa of current Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras, who had been pursuing former prosecutors who conducted corruption investigations.