TAIPEI, Taiwan:- Guatemala president Alvaro Colom Monday night refuted accusations by slain lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg that Colom and his private secretary were involved in the lawyer’s killing.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Rosenberg was assisted by journalist Mario David Garcia in recording a video in which the accusations were made.
Rosenberg had instructed Garcia to release the video if something happened to him.
”If you are watching this message, it is because I was assassinated by President Alvaro Colom with help from Gustavo Alejos,” the president’s secretary, Rosenberg said in the video.
CNN said Rosenberg, was shot and killed Sunday while riding a bicycle in Guatemala City on Sunday. The recording was distributed at Rosenberg’s funeral on Monday.
Prensa Libre, a newspaper in Guatemala City, said the recording ”has created the greatest political crisis for this democracy, because never before has a democratically elected president been accused of murder”, according to the New York Times.
The newspaper published on its website English and Spanish transcripts of the video and scanned copies of a signed transcript, which showed that the video was made last week.
Rosenberg’s video said he was targeted for speaking about the murder of businessman Khalil Musa and his daughter in April.
He said the two was killed because they had refused to take part in unscrupulous acts as the president had requested.
President Colom addressed Guatemalan during a broadcast during which he denied any connection to the lawyer’s death, CNN said.
“We categorically reject the accusations that pretend to tie the president, first lady and private secretary as those responsible for this assassination,” Colom told the nation.
The government also posted a seven-point statement on its Web site, saying the lawyer’s claim was intended to create “political chaos.”
Colom’s administration blamed Rosenberg’s death on organized crime and call for a United Nations agency and the FBI to investigate the killing.
Rosenberg’s friends and relatives protested his death outside the presidential palace where they traded insults with slum-dwelling supporters of the president, The New York Times said.
The publication said that governors, all of whom were appointed by the president, expressed supoort for him, as did about 250 of the country’s 333 mayors.
Helen Mack, a human rights activist and director of the Myrna Mack Foundation, said the accusation moved the country toward an institutional crisis.
”Congress, the supreme court, the constitutional court and all the other institutions are being questioned, and now there emerges this serious allegation against the executive in chief,” she said.