Former President of Guatemala sent to jail

After resignation of Guatemala's President, Otto Perez, Guatemalan judge orders him to be imprisoned

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Perez jailed on accusations of corruption scandal

Guatemala's President, Otto Perez, who recently resigned was jailed on Thursday for alleged corruption charges and being involved in a huge bribery scheme.

Before he was taken to jail, Perez told reporters that he is going to "respect due process and face this with a clear conscience.

According to prosecutors, he was involved in a customs scam which was coded as "La Linea" ("The Line"). This was the line used by importers, while speaking on the phone, which enabled them to avoid paying customs duties in exchange for bribes.

After Perez's resignation was approved by congress, former Vice President, Alejandro Maldonado, was sworn in as president to carry out Perez’s remaining duties.

"At last, the most corrupt president in the history of Guatemala is gone," said Juan Carlos Carrera, a lawyer.

"This is a citizens' revolution, because Guatemala has been divided for many years with so much injustice," Carrera added.

In recent weeks, many protesters flooded the streets of the capital and other cities to demand Perez's resignation, due to the allegations against him.

While the country is getting ready for presidential elections on Sunday, celebrations over Perez's resignation could be seen all over the capital and other cities.

Perez, has been in power since 2012, he had resigned following an order by Judge Miguel Angel Galvez, who called for the president’s prosecution on the accusations of a fraud scheme that overwhelmed the government, initiating the most serious blow so far, against the deep-rooted political corruption in the country, according to a statement released by the Presidential Spokesman Jorge Ortega on Thursday.

The president’s letter of resignation was signed late on Wednesday and sent to the congress, which called for an emergency session early on Thursday, to hand power over to Vice President Alejandro Maldonado, in accordance with the constitution.

The president’s immunity from prosecution was stripped on Tuesday, by a unanimous vote at the Guatemalan Congress, clearing the way for prosecutors to proceed with their case against him.

White House respected Perez's decision to resign, and added that country is ready to work with Vice President Alejandro Maldonado in his new role as president.

"We commend the people of Guatemala and their institutions for the manner in which they have dealt with this crisis, and continue to underscore our support for Guatemala's democratic and constitutional institutions," White House spokesman, Josh Earnest told reporters.



TRTWorld and agencies