Everardo’s father, Jose de Leon Bdtnaca Velasquez Barbara Belejack Harbury, continued from page 7 returned to Guatemala and soon after disappeared. At first the Army reported that he had fallen in combat and had committed suicide to avoid capture. A detailed description of a body that had been found in a river and buried by the army was sent to the URNG. In May 1992, Harbury traveled to Guatemala to exhume the body, only to be stopped at the last minute by Attorney General Valladares. In early 1993, a former guerrilla who had escaped from a clandestine military prison told her that he had seen Everardo being tortured in an effort to break him psychologically to collaborate with the army; he could identify about 30 other former guerrillas who had also been tortured and were being held clandestinely. Until that time, human rights organizations believed that Guatemala had no political prisonersanyone captured by the army would be summarily executed. Armed with the names of both prisoners and military officials, Harbury approached the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala in March 1993. In August of that year, she was finally able to open the grave and discover what Valladares had tried to prevent her from learningthat there had been a hoax, that the body was not Everardo’s but that of a much younger, shorter man, who had been killed to provide a corpse. It was precisely the kind of scenario predicted in a CIA memo issued just six days after Everardo’s capture and distributed to the State Department, White House, and other government entitiesthe Guatemalan army would likely fake his death, the memo stated, “to maximize his intelligence value.” enoras y Senores, La Corte.” The Court is the Inter American Court of Human Rights, located in a pleasant hillside suburb of San Jose, Costa Rica. It has no street address and when I call for directions, I am told with typical tico, or Costa Rican informalityto look for a building 100 meters from a coffee shop called Pasteleria Spoon. The building is one that would not be out of place in any wealthy suburb south of the Rio Grande; the courtroom itself looks more like a simple chapel with its wooden beams and whirling ceiling fans. The Court, to which the United States has never belonged, is part of the Organization of American States. It is not a criminal court; its goal is to protect and promote human rights and it can only accept cases that cannot be prosecuted in domestic courts. In her search for Everardo, Harbury began with the Guatemalan courts, but was thwarted by judicial officials who spent most of their time trying to invalidate her marriage, or alternately trying to prevent her from leaving or entering the country. She was repeatedly threatened, as was an independent prosecutor who was finally forced to resign. His successor, whom the army had blocked from carrying out any further exhumations, was shot to death in May 1998. Like so many killings in Guatemala today, the prosecutor’s murder could easily be attributed to common crime and was never solved. In November 2000 the Court issued an 80-page decision that found the Guatemalan military guilty of the secret detention, torture, and execution of Everardo, of the violation of the civil rights of Jennifer Harbury and Everardo’s father and sisters, and of obstruction of justice. Human rights activists in Latin America heralded the In November 2000 the Inter American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica issued an 80-page decision that found the Guatemalan military guilty of the secret detention, torture, and execution of Everardo, of the vio lation of the civil rights of Jennifer Harbury and of Everardo’s father and sisters. 1$ Ilif IOU MEMO 6/7102
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