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News > Guatemala

Guatemala's President Asks Congress to Reinstate Death Penalty

  • President Alejandro Giammattei, Guatemala City, Guatemala.

    President Alejandro Giammattei, Guatemala City, Guatemala. | Photo: Twitter/ @LaTribunahn

Published 12 February 2021

Alejandro Giammattei suggested applying this penalty to the killers of 8-years-old Sharon Figueroa, whose body was found with signs of violence and asphyxiation.

Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei on Thursday urged Congress to reinstate the death penalty for some crimes, including femicide and child abuse, following the murder of an eight-year-old girl in the country.


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"Let our hands not tremble to confront criminals," Giammattei said, stressing that hardly any felony receives such punishment in the Constitution.

All crimes against children "should be punished with the criminal's life," he said one day after Sharon Figueroa was found dead in the Peten Department.

On Monday, the girl disappeared from her home's courtyard. The next day, her body was found with signs of violence and asphyxiation. No signs of sexual violence were found, although it is believed that she died at the hands of a man.

Guatemala's Constitution permits the death penalty. However, in recent years it could not be executed due to the legal void that exists in this regard.

In 2017, the Constitutional Court declared illegal the application of the death penalty in crimes of parricide, extrajudicial execution, kidnapping, forced disappearance, and the president or vice president's murder.

The country's highest court decided to almost eliminate this punishment due to "its contradictions with international human rights agreements."

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