police murdered street child: Guatamalan Govt. ponders damage

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 23 Jul 1998 10:13:59 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  Reply-To: "Ana de Lara - Casa Alianza" <casalnza@sol.racsa.co.cr>

Streetkid-L: Promoting awareness of the plight of street children
and other children at risk worldwide. Your participation is welcome.

July 18th, 1998


Casa Alianza Guatemala has been contacted by the Government's
Presidential Commission on Human Rights (COPREDEH), requesting a
meeting to consider a proposal they have on how to settle the legal
claim for damages for the March 1990 murder of 13 year old street
child Nahaman Carmona Lopez.

Nahaman was kicked to death on the cold Guatemala streets by the
unformed policemen who, after several years of struggle, were finally
convicted for the homeless boy's murder in 1992 and jailed for 12
years. The public employees were also ordered to pay 20,000 quetzales
(US$ 3,160) in damages. This was just the second time in the history
of Guatemala that policemen had been jailed for human rights abuses.
Due to death threats related to this case, three Casa Alianza workers
had to flee to Canada. The organization's Crisis Center was attacked
by gunfire.

The policemen only served 6 years of the sentence and were released in
August 1997. They never paid the damages due. In March 1997, Casa
Alianza placed a civil claim against the four policemen and the
Government of Guatemala for the payment of damages to Nahaman's
poverty stricken mother, who lives in San Salvador. According to
Article 155 of the Guatemalan Constitution, the Government of
Guatemala is equally responsible for damages caused by public
employees in the execution of their duty. Never has a claim been paid
by the government under the Constitutional article.

In mid 1997, the Attorney General of Guatemala wrote to the President
of Guatemala, Alvaro Arzu, requesting permission to pay the damages
that the court had ordered. No reply was received. In early 1998
another letter was written to the President, and the then Presidential
Secretary (and current Attorney general) stated that the President of
Guatemala had given express orders that the court ordered funds not be

After recent press exposure in the Siglo XXI national newspaper, last
week the Secretary of the President contacted Casa Alianza requesting
a conciliatory meeting. The initial meeting was set for July 15th, but
the government canceled the meeting, which has now been rescheduled
for Monday, July 20th at 11am in the General Secretary's Office of the

The Regional Director for Casa Alianza in Latin America - and formal
accuser of the four policemen, Bruce Harris, will head the Casa
Alianza delegation, along with Arturo Echeverria, the Casa Alianza
Guatemala National Director; and Hector Dionicio, Coordinator of Casa
Alianza's Legal Aid Office.


For more information, please contact Casa Alianza Guatemala at
+502-253-2965 or 251-2569 or <bruce@casa-alianza.org>
Casa Alianza / Covenant House Latin America
Regional Office for Latin America
San Jose, Costa Rica

e-mail: analara@casa-alianza.org

Phone: +(506) 253-5439
Fax:   +(506) 224-5689

Mailing Address:
SJO 1039 / PO Box 025216
Miami FL, 33102-5216 USA

Home Page <http://www.casa-alianza.org>
"If the 100 millions street children throughout the
world were all in the same place, they would have
their own country, a seat at the United Nations and
loans from the World Bank..."
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Listowner: jwalenci@acc.jbu.edu, John Brown University


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