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Former member of armed forces sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in raid on publisher's home

(RSF/IFEX) - On 25 February 2005, a Guatemala City court sentenced former armed forces member Eduviges Funes to 16 years in prison for his part in a 24 June 2003 raid on the home of "elPeriódico" publisher José Rubén Zamora.

However, the court acquitted the other defendant, former soldier Belter Álvarez, for lack of evidence. "It's frustrating because a protected witness and I identified both defendants," Zamora said. "I don't understand this verdict. If one [person] was convicted, the other one should have been as well."

A group of 11 heavily armed men took part in the 24 June 2003 raid on Zamora's home. They threatened the publisher and his family for a period of three hours. On 20 January 2004, Zamora announced that he had identified four of the assailants with the police's help and as a result of investigations conducted by his newspaper. All four of the suspects, including the two defendants at the trial, were members of the presidential guard, a now-disbanded elite military intelligence unit reportedly involved in a number of human rights violations during the 1960-1996 civil war in Guatemala.

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