On December 23, 2004, Armando Sanchez received a call on his cellular phone from an anonymous caller who told him he would be killed if he did not leave the country within five days. Mr. Sanchez reported the call and was placed under 24-hour police protection. On December 26, 2004, at approximately 2:00 a.m., three men went to the home of one of Mr. Sanchez’s neighbours and asked which house belonged to Mr. Sanchez. They did not Mr. Sanchez’s home at this time, as there were two police officers stationed outside. The 24-hour protection lasted for roughly a week and was then reduced to 3 hours a night, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. On the evening of January 6, 2005 the police officers did not show up, despite having promised to do so.
The source of the threats against Mr. Sanchez is unknown and could be linked to any one of several cases Mr. Sanchez is currently working on, including: work with a local human rights organization which has accused local government officials of involvement in the escape of a murder suspect; work for a woman whose husband was murdered by drug traffickers; and work for farmers in labour disputes with their employers.
Mr. Sanchez had filed a complaint against the police in August of 2004 regarding the alleged unlawful closure of a right-of-way in the town of Coatepeque. After filing this complaint, Mr. Sanchez was charged with coercion an incitement to commit an offence by the local prosecutor.
LRWC is concerned for the safety of Mr. Sanchez and has written a letter requesting his the continued provision of police protection.
Letter Written on January 11, 2005 by Brenda J. Wemp
Armando Sanchez has informed Amnesty International that he has not received any further death threats following the UA issued on his behalf on January 7, 2005. He is no longer receiving police protection. Although the authorities began investigations into the threats, no substantial progress has been made and on one has been brought to justice.