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Gender based violence

Guatemala gives ex-paramilitaries 30 years for raping indigenous women

Guatemala gives ex-paramilitaries 30 years for raping indigenous women
epa09707252 Achi women survivors of sexual violence perform a ceremony to celebrate after a court sentenced their aggressors, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, 24 November 2022. A Guatemalan court sentenced this Monday to 30 years in prison five paramilitaries accused of raping 36 Achi indigenous women between 1981 and 1985, during the bloodiest period of the internal armed conflict (1960-1996). EPA-EFE/Esteban Biba

GUATEMALA CITY, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Guatemala's highest court on Monday sentenced five former paramilitaries to 30 years in prison after they were found guilty of raping 36 Mayan women between 1981 and 1985 during the bloodiest time of the Central American nation's civil war.

The trial against the former members of the so-called Civil Self-Defense Patrol, armed groups recruited by the army, began three weeks ago.

During the trial, survivors and relatives of the victims of the Achi indigenous group gave testimony.

“The women were subjected to continuous rape and also to domestic slavery,” said Gervi Sical, one of the judges as the sentence was read.

The former patrolmen “disappeared” all the men from a village in Baja Verapaz, in northern Guatemala, and then raped, tied up and threatened the women, Sical said. After being raped, they were urinated on.

Pedrina Lopez, one of the victims, said they were not seeking revenge but rather justice. “We don’t want this to happen again,” she said.

The five former patrolmen are alive and in prison.

In 2016, two soldiers were sentenced for sexual violence, and sexual and domestic slavery of 15 Q’eqchi women, also of Mayan origin.

By Sofia Menchu.

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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