Guatemala's Giammattei seeks jail terms of up to 30 years for people smugglers

Published on: 15/01/2022 – 08:47

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei offered a motion in Congress on Friday to increase the number of prisoners in the country, and to sentence up to 30 years for the worst offenders.

For many years Guatemala has become a major entry point for the poorest Central America do not move – including Guatemalans – who travel on a treacherous journey through Mexico on the United States in search of a better life.

But the Guatemalan government wants to address the problem terrorist smugglers many refugees have died in tragic events either because of traffic congestion or because of terrorists.

Giammattei decided to increase the sentences of smugglers, known as “coyotes”, between the ages of 10 and 30 from the two to five years stipulated by Guatemala law.

“I reaffirm my government’s commitment to sentencing prison sentences to coyotes and smugglers,” Giammattei said in a statement to Congress, adding that the United States should also send smugglers.

The theory is that if child traffickers, pregnant women or migrants are abused, the penalties could be severe.

Giammattei’s announcement comes weeks after 55 many Guatemalan migrants died when a pickup truck carrying them down southern Mexico overturned.

The President of Guatemala has called for the immediate transformation of the country. But these changes need to be discussed first and get approved by two-thirds of the 160 members of Congress.

The bill seems to have a chance to pass because the ruling party can get the necessary votes through the coalition agencies and the support it has from other banks.

Guatemalan immigration officials said on Friday that they were also looking for another group of refugees who could leave Honduras over the weekend and try to cross Guatemala.


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