Guatemala files more charges against ex-prosecutor

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FILE - Juan Francisco Sandoval, Guatemala's lead prosecutor against impunity, poses for a photo during an interview in Guatemala City, April 3, 2019. A Guatemalan court issued a second arrest warrant Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, against the former anti-corruption prosecutor, for crimes of abuse of authority, usurpation of powers, fraud and conspiracy. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Prosecutors in Guatemala said Tuesday they have filed more charges against a former anti-corruption prosecutor who fled to the United States in July.

The charges against Juan Francisco Sandoval appear to be the latest round in attempts by the government to interfere with anti-corruption efforts.

Prosecutors said the charges of abuse of authority, fraud and conspiracy relate to deals Sandoval allegedly made with cooperating witnesses in corruption cases.

Sandoval, the former head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity, fled to the United States in July after being removed from his post by the attorney general.

Sandoval had been investigating corruption allegations involving President Alejandro Giammattei. He had been charged with obstructing a case and failure to carry out his duties in September.

In 2019, the government forced out a U.N.-organized anti-corruption mission that had helped prosecute numerous powerful figures. Since then, prosecutors who had worked with the commission and judges who heard its cases have faced growing pressure.

Human rights groups and the U.S. government have expressed concern about attempts to interfere with anti-corruption efforts and to place compromised figures on the country’s top courts.

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