Guatemalan court suspends legal status of seed movement

(CNN Spanish) — In Guatemala, the head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (FECI), Rafael Curruchiche, said on Wednesday that the Seventh Criminal Court had ordered the suspension of the legal status of the political party Movimiento Semilla.

In a video posted on the Guatemalan Public Prosecutor’s Twitter account, Curruchiche explains that they are investigating the Movimiento Semilla for the alleged forgery of citizens’ signatures for the party’s authorization process before the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

“There are indications that perhaps more than 5,000 citizens have illegally joined the Seed Movement by forging their handwriting and signature. In addition, a person’s signature and fingerprint were placed on several citizens,” Curruchiche says in the video.

CNN consulted Movimiento Semilla for its comments. The answer was the promise to “give all the information as soon as possible”, as well as the position of Bernardo Arévalo, the party’s candidate for the presidency of the country. According to Movimiento Semilla, Arévalo had already reported the case to the Public Prosecutor, but it had not been investigated.

Guatemalan presidential candidate for the Movimiento Semilla party, Bernardo Arévalo, arrives at the Constitutional Court in Guatemala City on July 2, 2023. (Photo by Orlando ESTRADA/AFP) (Photo by ORLANDO ESTRADA/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Curruchiche, the FECI investigation established that at least 12 deceased people had been registered by Movimiento Semilla. The FECI head claims in the video that the party paid a total of about US$22,000 in exchange for signatures with the aim of achieving the minimum necessary to become a political party and participate in elections.

The investigation into this case began, according to the authorities, following a complaint from a person in May 2022.

Arevalo told CNN on July 7 that he feared being excluded from the presidential race. “What is being done is creating a waiting period to open up the possibility that some sort of spurious legal action is being taken, such as the actions that were used to remove Thelma Cabrera, Roberto Arzú and Carlos Pineda from the competition” the candidate then said said.

Arévalo took second place in the election, according to the preliminary tally, for which he will face Sandra Torres, of the National Unity of Hope party, on Aug. 20. However, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has not yet formalized the results.

This is developing information.

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