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  • Thelma Aldana is one of the favorites to win the next presidential elections of the Central American country.

    Thelma Aldana is one of the favorites to win the next presidential elections of the Central American country. | Photo: EFE

Published 13 April 2019

Aldana was detained immediately after stepping off a plane in Honduras, interrogated and held without explaination by authorities.

Guatemalan presidential hopeful, Thelma Aldana, whose tenure as attorney general was key to reveal important corruption cases in the country, was reportedly arbitrarily arrested by Honduran authorities at a Tegucigalpa airport.

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Aldana was traveling to Honduras for a work meeting with private consultants to discuss cooperation projects detailed in her government plan when, on landing at the airport Thursday morning, she was apprehended by Honduran officials.

The former attorney general was taken into a side room and thoroughly interrogated, photographed without her permission and held for two hours without explanation.

Two Interpol agents were also present during the interrogation, although the reason for their “intimidating” presence was never clarified, Alldana said in a Twitter post.

When her documents were returned, she opted to leave Honduras and fly to El Salvador to conduct her business.

"This is a fact that demonstrates the manipulation of public institutions at the hands of Juan Orlando Hernandez and his alliance with the corrupt pact in Guatemala," she said.

In a statement, the Institute for Democracy, Peace and Security University (IUDPAS), denounced her arrest: "The retention of the lawyer (Thelma) Aldana is a flagrant violation of the rights of citizens, exposes the vulnerability of the people and the hostility of the state towards this ex-employee who has played a transcendental role in the fight against corruption and impunity in her country."

The politician's detainment "takes us back to the dark years of our country, of the illegal interrogations, of the tortures carried out by repression structures such as the National Directorate of Investigation (DNI)," the IUDPAS said.  

Aldana is one of the favorites to win the next presidential elections of the Central American country, but faces an arrest warrant for accusations of embezzlement and tax fraud, which she rejects assuring that they are the work of her political opponents.

The former attorney general gained notoriety for his support for the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a body created by the United Nations to fight corruption in Guatemala and was pivotal in bringing  ex-President Otto Perez and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti, to prison.

Although her bid to candidacy was rejected by the Guatemalan Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) last week due to the outstanding warrant, Aldana has continued her efforts to run in the upcoming presidential run. Among her proposals is to renew the mandate of the CICIG, an institution which has seen serious pushback from current President Jimmy Morales.

CICIG’s mandate was slated to end in September, after Morales decided to revoke work visas and expel the organization due to a personal and political dispute. In January, the president decided to move forward with the expulsion of the international institution, however this was later overruled by the Constitutionality Court.

The CICIG was established over a decade ago to conduct independent investigations and work with the country’s prosecutors. It has often clashed with Morales, whose National Convergence Front is close to military officers responsible for many human rights' violations during the civil war.

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