Thursday, December 9, 2010

BTS Condemns the Murder of Emilia Quan Stackmaann

The Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Solidarity Network joins in the admonition of the kidnapping, torture and murder of Emilia Margarita Quan Stackmaann, who was found dead the morning of Wednesday, December 8, 2010, 24 hours after she went missing. Emilia was a sociologist working with CEDFOG, the Research and Documentation Centre of the Western Border of Guatemala and was en route to the municipality of Chiantla, Huehuetenango, when the crime occurred the morning of December 7.

According to CEDFOG, at 6:20am on December 7, the CEDFOG vehicle was intercepted by strongly armed men who kidnapped Emilia and the driver of the vehicle, Víctor López. Later, Mr. López was found abandoned, beaten, gagged with his hands and feet tied up and Emilia remained missing. That same day, at 8:30am, a vehicle of the Social Ministry Program of the Catholic Diocese was also intercepted a few meters from its offices located in San José. Inside was the Program’s Accountant, Manual Mendez, who was kidnapped and then abandoned in the community Naranjo, Huehuetenango.

The following day, December 8, Emilia Quan was found dead in the community of Cruz Canelish, between the municipalities of Chiantla and San Juan Ixcoy.

We join others in expressing our grave concern that these violence acts are related to the work of Emilia and CEDFOG, an organization that promotes human rights through social, cultural, political and economic research.

Along with national and international organizations, BTS demands that the Guatemalan State:
• Undertake a thorough investigation to find those intellectually responsible for the murder of Emilia and clarify the facts surrounding her murder
• Ensure an effective criminal investigation into the facts without hindering the investigation of all possible scenarios of what happened to help to clarify the facts.
• Ensure the safety of social and human rights organizations in Huehuetenango and all of Guatemala who work for development, security and justice.

We extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family of Emilia Margarita Quan Stackmaann. Her spirit and example will live on for those who continue to struggle for justice and a world where truth may be spoken freely.

Thank you, Emilia, for your gift of friendship, your example of justice and commitment to making this a better world. May you rest in peace. December 9, 2010