Another Guatemalan Human Rights Defender murdered – 3 others released by kidnappers

March 27, 2013

On 18 March 2013, the body of human rights defender and indigenous peoples’ leader Encarnación Marcos Ucelo was found, following his kidnapping by heavily armed men the day before. His body reportedly showed signs of strangulation and his hands were tied. Fellow indigenous leaders Messrs Rigoberto Aguilar, Rodolfo López and Roberto González were also kidnapped by the armed men, but all three were released on 17 and 18 March 2013.

Encarnación Marcos Ucelo was a member of the Xinca indigenous people in Santa Maria Xalapán, situated in the department of Jalapa in Eastern Guatemala. He had worked as secretary of the Indigenous Parliament of Santa Maria Xalapán for almost two years and was also involved in a commission established in 2012 to investigate the historical land rights of indigenous peoples and campesino communities in Guatemala. Rigoberto Aguilar, Rodolfo López and Roberto González are all members are of the same indigenous community, while Roberto González is also Mayor of Santa Maria Xalapán and President of the Parliament.

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped condemns the killing of Encarnación Marcos Ucelo, and expresses serious concern for the security and physical and psychological integrity of Rigoberto Aguilar, Rodolfo López and Roberto González and urges the authorities in Guatemala to initiate an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation and take all necessary measures to guarantee the security and physical and psychological integrity all other indigenous peoples’ rights defenders of the Santa Maria Xalapán community.

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