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CICIG lies when calling us NetCenter

ESPAÑOL DISPONIBLE AQUÍ

On May 20 CICIG (@CICIGgt), presented a report called “Bots, Netcenters and the fights against impunity” where the twitter accounts associated with the Bitkov family (@SupportBitkovs) and their lawyers (@AbogadoRolandoA  @VictoriaSando_) are falsely classified as NetCenter.

It is clear that CICIG made this false report, associating the twitter accounts of the Bitkov family and their lawyers in retaliation for what the case of the Bitkov family provoked internationally to show the true face of CICIG.

Below we show with legal evidence, links, videos, the report of what happened in the U.S. Helsinki Commission by The Bitkov Family Case, which defeated CICIG.

U.S. Helsinki Commission – The Bitkov Family Case

Did a UN Commission Founded to Fight Corruption Help the Kremlin Destroy a Russian Family?

U.S. Helsinki Commission – The Bitkov Family
The Long Arm Of Injustice, Friday, April 27, 2018 – 9:15am – Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172 Washington, DC United States

In 2008, Igor and Irina Bitkov, along with their daughter Anastasia, fled Russia in fear for their lives. Having seen their successful company bankrupted in a textbook raider scheme, their daughter kidnapped and raped, and facing death threats, the Bitkovs took refuge and began a new life with new identities in Guatemala.

The family now finds itself separated, imprisoned in squalid Guatemalan jail cells, and facing nearly twenty years in prison for alleged paperwork irregularities normally punishable by a simple fine. There are grave reasons to question the role of the government of Russia and the UN’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in their imprisonment.

“I am deeply concerned about grave injustices suffered by the Bitkov family brutalized in Russia, now apparently re-victimized in Guatemala, where they languish in jail,” said Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), who chaired the hearing.

“Evidence indicating that the government of Russia may have enlisted the UN’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala to persecute this family is troubling and must be thoroughly scrutinized.”

The hearing sought answers to key questions: Did the Kremlin enlist CICIG in its vendetta to destroy the Bitkovs? Is this another example of the frightening reach of Putin’s government and its ability to co-opt institutions designed to further the rule of law, as it has Interpol and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties? Has the government of Russia corrupted a UN anti-corruption agency? What does this teach about the government of Russia, the UN, and the global fight against the scourge of corruption?

The Helsinki Commission examined the specifics of the Bitkov case, including Russian influence on CICIG and Guatemala’s Attorney General’s office, and reviewed policy options to protect U.S. taxpayer-supported institutions from abuse and undue pressure from authoritarian governments. In 2008, Igor and Irina Bitkov, along with their daughter Anastasia, fled Russia in fear for their lives. Having seen their successful company bankrupted in a textbook raider scheme, their daughter kidnapped and raped, and facing death threats, the Bitkovs took refuge and began a new life with new identities in Guatemala.

The family now finds itself separated, imprisoned in squalid Guatemalan jail cells, and facing nearly twenty years in prison for alleged paperwork irregularities normally punishable by a simple fine. There are grave reasons to question the role of the government of Russia and the UN’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in their imprisonment.

I am deeply concerned about grave injustices suffered by the Bitkov family—brutalized in Russia, now apparently re-victimized in Guatemala, where they languish in jail,” said Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), who chaired the hearing. “Evidence indicating that the government of Russia may have enlisted the UN’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala to persecute this family is troubling and must be thoroughly scrutinized.”

The hearing sought answers to key questions: Did the Kremlin enlist CICIG in its vendetta to destroy the Bitkovs? Is this another example of the frightening reach of Putin’s government and its ability to co-opt institutions designed to further the rule of law, as it has Interpol and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties? Has the government of Russia corrupted a UN anti-corruption agency? What does this teach about the government of Russia, the UN, and the global fight against the scourge of corruption?

The Helsinki Commission examined the specifics of the Bitkov case, including Russian influence on CICIG and Guatemala’s Attorney General’s office, and reviewed policy options to protect U.S. taxpayer-supported institutions from abuse and undue pressure from authoritarian governments.

 

Bill Browder Founding Director Global Magnitsky Campaign for Justice

Letter from Bill Browder to Alejandro Baltazar Maldonado Aguirre President of the Republic of Guatemala in 2015, where he lets you know that the Bitkov family is persecuted politically by the government of the Russian Federation

Hermitage Capital Management (UK) LTD

 

His Excellency, Alejandro Baltazar Maldonado Aguirre,
President of the Republic of Guatemala
6ta Avenida 4-46. Zona 1,
Ciudad Guatemala Ciudad de Guatemala

22nd October 2015

Excellency:

I am writing to bring to your attention an ordeal faced by a Russian family imprisoned in Guatemala. Three members of the Bilkov family were arrested on 15 January 2015 (Igor – father, Irina – mother and Anastasia – daughter aged 24) and are in detention awaiting trial.

I understand that the youngest member of the family, three-year-old Vladimir, was removed from the care of friends of the Bitkov family and placed in an orphanage for 42 days without contact with his parents. When a judge finally ruled that he could be returned to his legal guardians, he emerged emaciated and psychologically traumatised. After the Bitkovs’ arrest, their daughter Anastasia, who suffers from a bipolar condition was apparently deprived of necessary medication and suffered a nervous breakdown that required hospitalisation.

The treatment that this family suffered and Is suffering raises serious questions about Guatemala’s observance of its human rights commitments, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also raises questions on how Guatemala is being manipulated by corrupt Russian officials.

I am told that the Bitkov family fled Russia to Guatemala based on threats they had received from the Russian authorities after lheir_paper business was stolen by corrupt officials. But now VTB, one of the Russian slate bank that was allegedly involved in the theft of the Bitkovs’ assets in Russia, has managed to make itself part of the Guatemalan criminal proceedings against the Bitkovs.

I am writing as another victim of abuses perpetrated by similarly corrupt Russian officials. My Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was imprisoned, tortured and killed in Russian custody after lie had exposed the $230 million theft by corrupt Russian officials. The very same Russian officials lie had exposed then arrested him and put him in pre-trial detention center where he was beaten with rubber batons and died. The Magnitsky Case has been condemned by the Council of Europe, the United States, Great Britain, the European Union and many other governments around the world and has come to symbolize the absence of the rule of law in Russia and the shocking human rights human rights violations that take place there.

In the Bilkov case, eight months after their arrest, Igor Bitkov is still incarcerated, Irina and Anastasia are being detained at a hospital facility, while their three-year old boy is living with guardians despite unexplainable efforts by the director of the Amor del niño” orphanage in Guatemala City to have him taken back into stale care. The Bilkovs deserve to be reunited as a family.

Your Excellency. I understand that the Bitkovs have applied for political asylum in Guatemala. I strongly urge the Guatemalan authorities to review their case quickly and provide them with the protection they urgently require. If they are forced to return to Russia, they will have no chance of a fair trial and will almost certainly receive long jail sentences to be served in dangerous and inhumane conditions.

Yours sincerely,
Bill Browder

Cc: Honorable Thelma Esperanza Aldana Hernandez
Fiscal General
Ministerio Público
15 Av. 15-16 Z.L 8vo nivel, Barrio Gerona,
Ciudad de Guatemala
Guatemala

Cc: H.E. John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
US Department of State 2201 C St NW, Washington, DC 20520
United States

Cc: Senator Roger F. Wicker
Co-Chairman, Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe
555 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510 United States

Cc: Congressman Christopher H. Smith
Chairman, Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe
2373 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515 United States

Source: https://www.csce.gov/sites/helsinkicommission.house.gov/files/Appx%207%20-%202015%2010%2022%20Bill%20Browder%20letter%20%20to%20president%20of%20Guatemala.pdf

Testimony by William Browder
To the US Helsinki Commission
On the Bitkov case in Guatemala
April 27, 2018

Co-chairman Smith, Distinguished Members of the Helsinki Commission,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to present the story of the Russian Government’s persecution of the Bitkov family in Guatemala.

As many of you know, I was the client of Sergei Magnitsky in Russia. When he was murdered by Russian government officials for uncovering state corruption, I started a campaign for justice, which led to this Commission spearheading the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act in 2012, and the Global Magnitsky Act in 2016.

I wrote about the Magnitsky justice campaign in a book, entitled “Red Notice, which was published in February 2015. Following the book’s publication, I have received messages from people all over the world telling me about their reactions to the Magnitsky case and sharing their own stories.

One of those stories came from a Russian woman named Irina Bitkov. She described how she and her family had been persecuted in a similar way to Sergei Magnitsky in Russia and when they fled, their persecutors from the Russian government chased them all the way to Guatemala and ruined their lives.

I am here today to share the Bitkov’s story because they can’t be here to do it themselves. They are currently in a Guatemalan prison where Igor Bitkov (the father) is serving a nineteen-year prison sentence and Irina and Anastasia Bitkov (the mother and daughter) are serving fourteen-year prison sentences, all for “passport violations” in Guatemala.
I’d like to point out that I have no business relationships with the Bitkovs. I am receiving no compensation for the advocacy I am doing on their behalf. I am entirely motivated by the shocking injustice of what has happened to them.

This story starts in the 1990’s when Igor and Irina Bitkov became owners of a paper mill in Russia called the North West Timber Company. Over the course of the 1990s, they built a highly successful business that reached $80 million in profits by 2007. It was apparently valued by the Russian state bank, Sberbank, at roughly US$400 million.
In the course of its business, the company obtained loans from Russian state banks, including Sberbank, VTB and Gazprombank in order to upgrade its facilities. Shortly after the loans were issued, the Bitkov’s problems began.

One of the bankers involved in issuing the loan approached Igor Bitkov and asked Igor to sell 51% of the business to him personally for US$25 million. As the business was worth many times that, Igor refused.

Following this unwanted take-over attempt, a terrible trauma befell the Bitkov family. The Bitkov’s then 16 year old daughter Anastasia was kidnapped in St Petersburg. The kidnappers demanded a ransom, which took the Bitkovs three days to accumulate. They paid the kidnappers and Anastasia was released, but when she was safely back home, the family discovered that Anastasia had been drugged and repeatedly raped by her kidnappers. The ordeal left Anastasia deeply traumatised and set off a cascade of psychiatric ailments, which require medication and treatment to this day.

Following that, and in a further escalation of the attempts to take over their company, the Russian state banks simultaneously called in the $158 million loans forcing the company into bankruptcy.

During the bankruptcy proceedings, the equipment of their factories was sold for a fraction of its true value.

The Bitkovs were then told that they would be imminently arrested. This was the moment the Bitkov family fled Russia. They first travelled to Latvia, and then to Turkey. In Turkey, they sought out a country to settle in where they could avoid the risk of being sent back to Russia where they feared the worst. They chose Guatemala because it did not have an extradition treaty with Russia.

They found an advertisement on the Internet from a Latin American law firm called Cutino Associates that specialised in immigration law and advertised its expertise in organizing Guatemalan immigration for US$50,000 per person. The family engaged Cutino and began the process of becoming immigrants to Guatemala.
In their initial communications with the Cutino law firm, they explained that the reason for their immigration was to avoid persecution from Russia.

Cutino explained to them that they could change their names in their immigration applications to avoid detection by the Russians. Cutino then submitted applications for the family and the Guatemalan migration service issued them new documents in new names. Anastasia kept her original name hoping that because she was not targeted with Russian criminal cases she would be ok to keep it.

The family then began a new life in Guatemala. Igor became a high school math teacher at the Brillo De Sol School in Antigua, Guatemala. Irina became a drawing teacher at the same school, and Anastasia who was beginning to regain her confidence after her terrible trauma in Russia, began a career in fashion.

In January 2012, Irina Bitkov gave birth to a baby boy named Vladimir.
It appeared that after their terrible ordeal in Russia where the family had lost nearly everything, they could begin a new chapter in their lives.

Unfortunately, their dream of a new life came crashing down in late 2013.
Investigators working for VTB Bank tracked down the Bitkovs in Guatemala. The head of the VTB Bank, Andrey Kostin, personally hired Henry Comte, one of the most prestigious attorneys in Guatemala and an alternate judge on the Guatemalan Supreme Court, to assist VTB in pursuing the Bitkovs in Guatemala.

VTB and Comte’s first attempt to go after the Bitkovs was to file a criminal complaint with the Attorney General’s Office of Guatemala claiming VTB had been defrauded by the Bitkovs in Russia. VTB presented photocopies of forged documents in the Guatemalan court. These documents had already been rejected as forgeries in similar proceedings in the Russian courts. When the Guatemalan court requested the originals, VTB bank withdrew its application.

VTB and Henry Comte then came up with a ‘plan B’ to go after Bitkovs. For several years before 2013, there had been an ongoing investigation into human trafficking and Guatemalan officials’ complicity with human traffickers in the country. It was called the Migration Case and was supported by a UN organisation called CICIG whose mandate was to go after organised crime networks who previously enjoyed impunity in Guatemala.
VTB and Comte successfully convinced CICIG to focus on the Bitkovs as part of the Migration Case in spite of the fact the Bitkovs were clearly not part of any organised network of traffickers.

Inexplicably, VTB Bank gained the legal status as an ‘interested party’ in the Migration Case against the Bitkovs with the support of CICIG. In January 2015, a criminal case against the Bitkovs was opened at the direction of CICIG. Immediately after, 70 armed police officers raided the Bitkovs’ home, arrested Irina, Igor and Anastasia and detained them in cage behind the parking garage in the main court building in Guatemala City.
While they were being held, Anastasia was deprived of her anti-depression medications and she had a severe psychiatric break-down. Anastasia and her mother were moved to a hospital under armed guard, and Igor was put into pre-trial detention at the Mariscal Zavala prison while the case awaited trial.

The Bitkovs arranged for their family lawyer, Rolando Alvarado, to be a guardian for their 3 year old child, Vladimir, while they were incarcerated. In spite of Mr. Alvarado’s valid guardianship papers, the Prosecutor of Guatemala filed a motion with the court calling for Vladimir Bitkov to be placed in a state orphanage instead.

At this point, the Russian government also got involved. Pavel Astakhov, the Russian government’s ombudsman for children’s rights publicly called for Vladimir Bitkov to be returned to Russia to be put into a Russian orphanage.

The Russian foray failed because Vladimir is only a Guatemalan citizen, not Russian and could not be returned to Russia. However, the Guatemalan prosecutor’s motion succeeded and Vladimir was placed in a state orphanage.

The family desperately applied to reverse the decision and get Vladimir out of the orphanage. It took 42 days for that application to be heard. When Vladimir finally emerged, he was examined by medical experts who found he had an upper respiratory infection; severe inflammation of the middle ear; conjunctivitis in both eyes; scars along the left eyebrow; and chipped front teeth. They concluded that he suffered from physical and psychological abuses in the orphanage.

In the meantime, the case against the Bitkovs for passport violations moved through the courts, they were formally indicted as part of the CICIG Migration Case in April 2015.
The Bitkov family appealed the indictment in the Appeals Court arguing that they were migrants and could not be subject to criminal prosecution applicable to traffickers. In December 2017, the Guatemalan Appeals Court ruled in favour of the Bitkovs declaring that any passport irregularities were administrative offences punishable by a fine and as migrants they should not be under criminal penalty.

However, CICIG and VTB were not happy with this decision and both immediately filed appeals against that court decision that would have freed the Bitkovs. While their appeal was pending, the decision was not in force.

A few days later on January 5, 2018, the Guatemalan District Court found Igor, Irina and Anastasia Bitkov guilty as users of the criminal network in the Migration Case. The court sentenced Igor to 19 years in prison, and Irina and Anastasia to 14 years. CICIG trumpeted their court victory on their website pointing out that they prosecuted 39 people from the criminal network, including the Bitkovs.

I understand that the 19-year sentence that Igor Bitkov was given was greater than sentences for manslaughter, rape, burglary and fraud in Guatemala. The sentences that all three of them were given appears to exceed the sentences of many of the government officials in Guatemala and traffickers who were part of the human trafficking network.
There was no evidence that the Bitkovs bribed any government official, or were involved in any corruption.

The Bitkovs who did not speak Spanish and did not know anyone in Guatemala on arrival, relied on the law firm, Cutino Associates who presented themselves as legitimate immigration lawyers.

It also appears that nobody from Cutino Associates who organised their passports and settlement documents has ever been prosecuted.

No other customers of Cutino appear to have been tried, convicted and sentenced like the Bitkovs. In the list presented by CICIG, which includes 39 people in the Migration Case, 36 were low & middle level officials from different Guatemalan governmental bodies and a few ‘coyotes’ who physically moved people through Guatemala.
So, what’s going on here?

There are two big Russian themes in this case, neither of which are unusual.
First, in Russia people who run successful businesses are routinely victimised through a process called ‘Raiderstvo’. I was a victim of Raiderstvo and so were the Bitkovs. It is a standard practice in Russia where organized criminals work together with corrupt government officials to extract property and money from their victims. There are literally hundreds of thousands of businessmen in jail in Russia who are victims of this as well.
The second theme is the abuse of international institutions. The Russian government routinely abuses international institutions in order to persecute its enemies who are outside of Russia.

In my case, the Russian government tried six times to have Interpol arrest me after the Magnitsky Act was passed. The Russian government also successfully recruited a senior official inside the Swiss Federal Police to stymie a Swiss criminal investigation into money laundering by Russian officials in the Magnitsky case. The Russian government also succeeded in getting a Deputy Attorney General of Cyprus in charge of mutual legal assistance and extradition affecting the Magnitsky case, and many other politically sensitive cases to inappropriately assist Russia in pursuing their enemies in Cyprus.
In my opinion, the Russian government succeeded in compromising CICIG and the Guatemalan Prosecutor for their own purposes in the Bitkov case.

CICIG and the prosecutor’s office have jointly taken up the Russian government’s vendetta against the Bitkovs with no good explanation.
CICIG did not distance itself from this Russian persecution. They’ve touted it on their website and they’ve actively tried to overturn the Bitkovs’ vindication by the Appeals Court.
Nor has VTB tried to hide its role in this case. In spite of the fact that VTB obtained no financial recovery for their alleged financial dispute with the Bitkovs, they became interested party in a case involving something that had nothing to do with them in order to vindictively punish Igor Bitkov and his entire family.

In the Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2018, Igor Kostin, the Chairman of VTB, says: “VTB’s action relating to the Bitkov family is an example of standard procedure in resolving financial business disputes through the available legal channels.”
This is an appalling case in which the Bitkov family deserves justice and the United States has an opportunity to deliver them justice.
CICIG is a UN organisation in which approximately 50% of its budget comes from the US government.

I do not believe that anyone in the US Congress or the US government ever envisaged that US tax dollars would be spent to support a Russian persecution of a family fleeing persecution in Guatemala. I would recommend that CICIG’s funding be suspended until this situation is resolved.

When I began the process of advocating for the Bitkov family, I discovered that CICIG is a highly contentious issue in DC and around the world. There are some people who are pro-CICIG, there are others who are anti-CICIG.

Up until two months ago, I had never heard of CICIG. I come into this case with no prejudices one way or another. I’ve gone where the evidence leads. So far, the evidence leads towards the conclusion about the involvement of this organisation in the Bitkov’s persecution.

As journalists from the Wall Street Journal and other news organization have started to investigate, CICIG has avoided answering a number of direct questions about their role in the Bitkov case and their support of VTB.

When CICIG was invited to give evidence to Congress, they declined claiming as a UN organization, it is not accountable to any institution in the United States.
They can’t have it both ways. They can either be the heroic anti-impunity organisation that their mandate sets for them and not take on other country’s vendettas, or the situation at CICIG needs to be cleaned up.

Source: https://www.csce.gov/sites/helsinkicommission.house.gov/files/III.c%20Testimony_Bill%20Browder.pdf

Senator Roger WickerChairmanCommission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Senator Roger Wicker Chairman Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Letter to the President of Guatemala in 2015 Alejandro Maldonado, from the President of the Helsinki Commission, Senator Roger Wicker where he lets you know that the Bitkov family is persecuted politically by the government of the Russian Federation

October 29, 2015

The Honorable Alejandro Baltazar Maldonado Aguirre
President of the Republic of Guatemala 6ta Avenida 4-46,
Zona 1 Guatemala City, Guatemala

Dear President Maldonado,

I write to bring to your attention to the plight of a Russian family that has been under arrest in Guatemala since January 2015. The family has lived peacefully in Guatemala since 2009 after fleeing persecution in Russia. I request your assistance in approving their political asylum request.

The Bitkov family was forced to flee Russia after being persecuted by Russian officials for refusing to pay bribes to local government officials. In 2009, the family relocated to Guatemala where they were subsequently victimized by corrupt Guatemalan lawyers and government officials who provided them with improper travel and residency documents. The Bitkov family has been incarcerated without trial for over 10 months. I am concerned that the Bitkovs would face severe human rights violations and a grim future with no prospects for a fair trial or justice should they be deported to Russia.

We are hopeful that your country’s recent Presidential elections will begin the process of restoring faith in democracy and the rule of law in Guatemala. The U.S. Congress has held numerous hearings and passed legislation that takes President Putin’s regime to task on its violations ot basic human rights in Russia. As such, we urge the Government of Guatemala to resolve the Bitkov family’s legal case as soon as possible and consider granting their request for political asylum in your country.

Thank you for your consideration

With best wishes, I am

Sincerely yours,

CC: The Honorable John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State
The Honorable Carlos Raul Morales Moscoso, Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Honorable Eunice del Milagro Mendizabal Villagran, Minister of Government
The Honorable Thelma Aldana Hernandez, Attorney General

STATEMENT
SENATOR ROGER WICKER

CHAIRMAN
COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND
COOPERATION IN EUROPE

Events – Hearing
THE LONG ARM OF INJUSTICE

Friday, April 27, 2018, 9:15am
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172
Washington, DC- United States

April 27, 2018

Permalink:
https://www.csce.gov/sites/helsinkicommission.house.gov/files/2018-04-27%20-%20Wicker%20Statement%20-%20Final%20for%20Website_2.pdf

UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE
(U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION)

Hearing on “The Long Arm of Injustice: Did a UN Commission Founded to
Fight Corruption Help the Kremlin Destroy A Russian Family?”
Friday, April 27, 2018

Statement of Senator Roger Wicker, Chairman

Thank you, Co-Chairman Smith, for convening this emergency hearing today. As our longest-serving commissioner, your doggedness to defend human dignity over the years has advanced the cause of freedom and saved countless lives around the world.

As members of Congress, we have a particular obligation to ensure the causes and institutions funded by the United States remain consistent with our values and our interests.

Today, the Commission will examine the harrowing experience of a Russian family who fell victim to an all-too-common corporate raider scheme in Russia.
Facing violent extortion, financial ruin, and imprisonment, the Bitkovs sought refuge abroad. Using the services of what they believed to be a legitimate immigration firm, they received new identities from the Government of Guatemala and began a new life in Central America. A few years later, Kremlin agents tracked them down and colluded with the UN’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) to sentence them to nearly twenty years in prison.

We know the lengths Russia’s kleptocracy will go to intimidate those who challenge its crimes. We remember the stories of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose successful company was expropriated and who spent 10 years in the Siberian gulag, and Sergei Magnitsky, who exposed corruption at the top of Russia’s government and was tortured and killed for doing so. In the case of the Bitkov family, the Kremlin agents persecuting the Bitkovs are sanctioned by the United States. In addition, the CICIG, a powerful and active participant in this gross miscarriage of justice, is funded in large part by the United States.

We are right to ask: Why would agents from one of the world’s most ruthless kleptocracies join forces with an agency set up to combat corruption and impunity?
Why would a UN institution receiving significant U.S. funding be so blind as to work with Vladimir Putin’s cronies when its mission is to help Guatemala move beyond the corruption and impunity that plague its society? In this whole tragic affair, did the Kremlin exert any undue influence on CICIG?

Yesterday’s decision by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court in favor of the Bitkovs is a welcome step, but this family remains in jail. They should be freed immediately. And yet, unless they receive asylum in Guatemala or another county, the Bitkovs will remain in grave jeopardy of being returned to Russia, where their long nightmare will surely continue.

I would like to note the role of one of our witnesses in bringing this case to our attention and to the attention of the American people. In 2009, Mr. Browder brought a similar case to the Helsinki Commission involving his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. At the time, Sergei was in pretrial detention in Moscow and being subjected to increasingly torturous conditions. My good friend Senator Ben Cardin chaired a hearing on Sergei’s case, and we worked to bring attention to his plight

However, Sergei died suddenly, having been locked in an isolation cell and beaten by prison guards when he needed urgent medical care. We must learn from this tragedy and not allow it to happen to the Bitkovs.

I will be working closely with the White House, National Security Council, and State Department to ensure the safety of this family, and I am prepared to use all available policy options to help resolve this injustice.

The case of the Bitkovs illustrates the Kremlin’s pattern of abuse involving the world’s courts and legal institutions. Russia should be called out for the mafia state it is and the illegitimate and politically influenced decisions that come out of Russian courts not given the time of day. We must find a way to protect our institutions from malign outsider influence and avoid becoming unwitting participants in Kremlin vendettas.

Representative Chris SmithCo-ChairmanCommission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Representative Chris Smith Co-Chairman Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

STATEMENT
REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS SMITH

CO-CHAIRMAN
COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND
COOPERATION IN EUROPE

Events – Hearing
THE LONG ARM OF INJUSTICE

Friday, April 27, 2018, 9:15am
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172
Washington, DC- United States
April 27, 2018

Permalink:

https://www.csce.gov/sites/helsinkicommission.house.gov/files/Rep.%20Chris%20Smith%2C%20Hrng%20Stmnt%2C%20Bitkov%20family%20persecuted%20by%20Russia%2C%2018%2004%2027.pdf

“The Long Arm of Injustice: Did A UN Commission Founded
To Fight Corruption Help the Kremlin Destroy a Russian Family?”

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chairman
April 27, 2018

The Russian government regularly pursues its vendettas beyond its borders, harassing and even murdering Russian emigres abroad – people who are on the Putin circle’s target list for various reasons. The poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in England is one of the most recent examples to reach the news.

The Kremlin’s sadistic pursuit of the entire Bitkov family is in its way just as shocking as its cruel murder of Litvinenko and the attempted murders of the Skripals. The Bitkovs are still alive today, but they have been hounded for over a decade, to the opposite end of the world, and beyond the limits of human endurance – merely for resisting Putin favorites who sought to take over their successful paper manufacturing company.

More shocking, the facts of the case strongly indicate – and we will hear testimony on this today – that the United Nation’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, or CICIG, became deeply involved in the Kremlin’s persecution of the Bitkov family. Indeed that CICIG acted as the Kremlin’s operational agent in brutalizing and tormenting the Bitkov family.

Congress has a special responsibility in this matter because the United States is one of the largest contributors to CICIG’s budget. There has been little congressional oversight of CICIG – it’s clearly time for that to change.

In the 1990s Igor and Irina Bitkov built the Northwest Timber Company, acquiring and modernizing old factories to increase paper production. As their company grew, the Bitkovs took loans from several Russian state banks to finance further modernization. Their business prospered – grew to a value of hundreds of millions of dollars – and the family was approached by a powerful bank executive who sought to buy a majority share in the company at a significantly below-market rate. Other officials asked Irina to become politically involved in the President Vladimir Putin’s party.

When the Bitkovs refused things got very ugly. Their 16-year-old daughter, Anastasia, was kidnapped for several days, drugged, and repeatedly raped. Her parents ransomed her – paying the money to policemen, who said they were go-betweens to the kidnappers. Then the banks suddenly called in the loans, even though the Bitkovs had excellent credit. The family was threatened with imprisonment and death.

Fearing for their lives, the family fled Russia. They found what they thought was legal refuge in Guatemala with the help of a Guatemalan law firm. They acquired Guatemalan passports, bought a house, learned Spanish, and gave birth to their second child, Vladimir.
But the Kremlin caught up to them and VTB Bank, one of Russia’s biggest state controlled
banks, often referred to as “Putin’s Piggy Bank,” filed a complaint against them in Guatemala, alleging use of false identification documents.

While we don’t know exactly what transpired internally to CIGIC and the Guatemalan state agencies that work with them, it appears to have been taken up by the Guatemalan state and CICIG. In any case, the Bitkov’s suddenly found themselves catapulted into what has become for them a horror without end.

On January 15, 2015, Igor, Irina, Anastasia and Vladimir were awoken by an armed raid on their home – 70 or so armed policemen woke them up, took them away, and spent 20 hours tearing apart their home and their office.

It got much worse – the Bitkovs were put into cages for nine days. Their daughter – remember she had been kidnaped and repeatedly raped years earlier – was denied medication, now suffered a nervous breakdown. As the ordeal continued, she would later make multiple suicide attempts. Their infant son was torn away from them, not even permitted to stay with friends, and sent to an orphanage, where he sustained facial injuries, a chipped tooth, conjunctivitis, lost the ability to speak. When family friends recovered him they found that, when given food, little Vladimir immediately began hiding it under his shirt. I will not say more now about the Bitkovs harrowing ordeal – their lawyers will speak to that. Suffice it to say that Igor, Irina, and Anastasia have remained incarcerated since January 2015.

In January of this year, despite an earlier appeals court ruling that the Bitkovs’ alleged offense was only administrative in nature and punishable with a fine, Igor was sentenced to 19 years in prison and Irina and Anastasia were sentenced to 14 years each. These sentences were far harsher than those given to Guatemalan officials who perpetrated the sale of passports – they are harsher than sentences given to rapists or murderers.

What was CICIG’s role in all of this? What we know for a fact is this: CICIG and a special branch of the attorney general’s office worked together on the investigation and arrest of the Bitkovs – CICIG personnel participated in the raid on the Bitkovs home. Then CICIG and VTB Bank initiated and aggressively pursued the legal case against them, constantly arguing at every level of the judicial process against the Bitkovs, including against their appeal to be tried as migrants guilty of an administrative offense rather than a criminal one. CICIG – via its representative Claudia Gonzalez Orellana – defended the role of the VTB Bank in the prosecution of the Bitkovs. Oddly, CICIG never prosecuted the law firm which provided the Bitkovs with the passports that destroyed their lives.

As we will hear from Bill Browder: “Inexplicably… In January 2015, a criminal case against the Bitovs was opened at the direction of CICIG. Immediately after, 70 armed police officers raided the Bitkov’s home, arrested Irina, Igor, and Anastasia and detained them in cages behind the parking garage in the main court building of Guatemala City.”

CICIG was invited to participate in this event and brief us today, but declined. They have sent a note, requesting that it be made part of the record, as has VTB Bank. Without objection, that will be done.

During questions, I will quote from CICIG’s note – asking our witnesses about CICIG’s account.

Just yesterday afternoon, the Constitutional Court of Guatemala – the country’s highest court – upheld an earlier decision by a lower court that had granted the Bitkovs’ appeal to be considered migrants, and therefore, under international law, not able to be tried as criminals. It is not yet clear what this ruling will mean – it seems mean that the family could be released from prison – but also that they could be deported back to Russia. Time will tell.

I want to make an appeal to the Guatemalan government, to CICIG, to our government, and to the UN – this is a time to focus on restoring to this family as much as possible of what has been unjustly taken from them. Their safety must come first – we must assume that they remain targets for the Kremlin. They must not be returned to Russia. They have to be protected, and safe haven must be found for them.

And then there must be accountability for the grotesque wrong that has been done to them. There must be further inquiry, and we must get to the bottom of this.

It would be the worst irony if CICIG, which was created to battle for accountability for corruption, were now to seek only to avoid scrutiny and accountability. CICIG cannot credibly do battle against a culture of impunity if it demands impunity for itself.

This is the time for CICIG – and its commissioner Iván Velásquez – to throw open its doors, provide transparency, and give an honest accounting to the world of exactly what was CICIG’s role in the cruelty that was wrecked on the Bitkovs. Unfortunately, up to now it has done nothing of the sort. I urge CICIG to change course now.

Senator Marco RubioCommissionerCommission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Senator Marco Rubio Commissioner  Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

STATEMENT
SENATOR MARCO RUBIO

COMMISSIONER
COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND
COOPERATION IN EUROPE

Events – Hearing
THE LONG ARM OF INJUSTICE

Friday, April 27, 2018, 9:15am
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172
Washington, DC- United States

April 27, 2018

Permalink:

https://www.csce.gov/sites/helsinkicommission.house.gov/files/20180426-SMR%20Helsinki%20Commission%20Statement%20for%20the%20Record%20on%20Bitkov.pdf

HELSINKI COMMISSION
THE LONG ARM OF INJUSTICE: DID A UN COMMISSION FOUNDED TO FIGHT
CORRUPTION HELP THE KREMLIN DESTROY A RUSSIAN FAMILY?
Statement for the Record
Commissioner Marco Rubio
April 27, 2018

Thank you Co-chair Smith for convening this important and timely hearing of the Helsinki Commission titled “The Long Arm of Injustice: Did a UN Commission Founded to Fight Corruption Help the Kremlin Destroy a Russian Family.”

As I am unable to attend today’s hearing, I would like to submit a statement for the record on the mistreatment of the Bitkov family by the Russian government and the apparent miscarriage of justice that has so far unfolded in Guatemala.

In 2008, the Bitkovs had their business stolen by a Kremlin-associated bank—which is currently under U.S. sanctions—and were forced from their home in Russia after threats from the Putin regime and its cronies, just like so many other entrepreneurs over the past two decades.

Having lost their business and their homeland, the Bitkovs fled to several countries before finally landing in Guatemala in hopes of a safe and secure future. But, in Putin’s Russia, merely stealing the Bitkovs livelihood wasn’t enough. The Kremlin and those associated with it have perpetrated an international campaign of aggression against the Bitkovs, pressuring the Guatemalan government—including troublingly, the Guatemalan judiciary—to prosecute the entire Bitkov family on potentially trump-up charges.

Unfortunately for the rule of law in Guatemala, Moscow seemed to have found a willing partner in the International Commission on Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which was set-up through the auspices of the United Nations to prosecute official corruption and political intimidation, not participate in it. I am concerned that CICIG, a commission funded by the United States, had potentially been manipulated by radical elements and Russia’s campaign against the Bitkovs in Guatemala. And that this, in turn, may have led to the Bitkovs’ suspiciously long prison sentences for crimes that normally would be afforded administrative fines, if any penalty at all.

Moreover, the conditions that the Bitkovs have endured during their incarceration have been deplorable, as they have suffered malnourishment, disease, and the separation of the family, including the placement of Igor and Irina’s youngest child in an orphanage against their expressed wishes. What all of this adds up to is Putin and his cronies apparently settling scores in the Western Hemisphere and undermining Guatemala’s anti-corruption watchdog.

This miscarriage of justice cannot be tolerated and today’s hearing is a strong first step in
bringing this matter to light. It is important for both Kremlin and Guatemalan officials to
understand that the world sees what is happening and will not accept Russian malign influence in the Western Hemisphere or the destruction of Guatemalan judiciary.

I was pleased to learn that on Thursday, April 26th, the Bitkov family was granted a protection order by the Guatemalan Constitutional Court I am confident that the Guatemalan government under the leadership of President Morales will ensure this family’s safety as they close this horrific chapter in their lives and begin a new journey away from the Kremlin’s international campaign of aggression against them.

Letter to President of Guatemala Jimmy Morales
from Senator Marco Rubio, urging security for the Bitkov family by his government

Permalink:

https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/e91ec74a-bf26-4d55-bd04-7f457e727d1a/28AE96688285C2EE98A7607412149B89.5-4-18-letter-to-president-morales-re-the-bitkov-family.pdf

May 4, 2018

President Jimmy Morales
Republic of Guatemala
Casa Presidencial
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Dear Mr. President:

I was pleased to see the Guatemalan Court of Constitutionality decide on April 26, 2018, to essentially vacate the criminal charges against the Bitkov family—Igor, Irina and their children, Anastasia and Vladimir. The Putin regime and its cronies not only stole the Bitkov’s livelihood, but also are perpetuating an international campaign of aggression against them. Even with the recent court ruling, however, I remain concerned for their safety and security, especially if they are forced to leave Guatemala and return to Russia.

As you are aware, international law protects those who seek refuge in a country outside their country of birth due to a well-founded fear of persecution by their country of origin. It is clear to me that the Bitkov family fits this definition and it is my hope that you will utilize all the resources at your disposal to ensure their safety and security following this horrible situation.

Additionally, I am troubled by the role of the International Commission on Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in this affair. CICIG made an inexplicable push for the prosecution and harsh sentencing of the Bitkov family, but not any other recipients of false papers or the company that sold them. These actions, combined with the Russian government’s aggressive attacks on the Bitkovs, raises serious questions about CICIG’s ability to remain free from the corruption that it has been charged with prosecuting.

For more than three years, the Bitkovs have suffered a miscarriage of justice, having been jailed for what normally would be an administrative fine. The facts of their ordeal lead to questions about both their well-being in the future as well as the connections between CICIG and the Russian government. I urge your government to ensure the safety and security of the Bitkov family and not deport them to Russia. Additionally, I request that you examine CICIG’s role in this case, especially its possible collusion with the Russian government and related Russian entities.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Senator James LankfordU.S. Senate
Senator James Lankford U.S. Senate

STATEMENT
SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD

U.S. Senate

Events – Hearing
THE LONG ARM OF INJUSTICE

Friday, April 27, 2018, 9:15am
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172
Washington, DC- United States

April 27, 2018

Permalink:

https://www.csce.gov/sites/helsinkicommission.house.gov/files/Lankford_statement_27April2018.pdf

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission, thank you for accepting my statement for the record as I regrettably could not attend today’s important hearing. I appreciate you and your staff’s hard work to bring these stories and facts to light.

I want to focus on something that has for too long gone overlooked and without proper oversight from the U.S. Congress: the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala’s (CICIG) expansion of authorities and prerogative beyond its mandate, and its level of effectiveness in building the capacity of Guatemala’s own judicial system.

CICIG’s mandate clearly states that the entity was established to support the Government of Guatemala by investigating and disbanding illegal security forces and clandestine security structures operating in the country. According to the mandate, CICIG is also tasked with strengthening Guatemala’s own justice system so that an international body is no longer needed  in the future. It appears that, after more than a decade of operation in the country, there is an unknown amount of progress in creating capacity for Guatemala’s own judicial system; of so, CICIG is faltering in its mission.

Let me make clear that I support the intention and core mandate of CICIG to walk alongside Guatemala’s public prosecutors to tackle the devastating effects that armed drug traffickers and gangs have had and continue to have on Guatemalan society and economy.

The influence of illicit narcotics is the primary catalyst for the region’s rampant crime and corruption, and the U.S. and international community should be a partner with the Guatemalan government in eliminating its malign influence. Yet we should be diligent in exercising oversight over any foreign entity which receives U.S. taxpayer funding to ensure our nation’s own resources are used to advance national interests.

I applaud the Commission for looking into the issue of the Bitkov family as well as exercising oversight over the U.S.-funded CICIG.

Senator Michael S. LeeU.S. Senate
Senator Michael S. Lee U.S. Senate

STATEMENT
SENATOR MICHAEL S. LEE

U.S. Senate

Events – Hearing
THE LONG ARM OF INJUSTICE

Friday, April 27, 2018, 9:15am
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172
Washington, DC- United States

April 27, 2018

Permalink:

https://www.csce.gov/sites/helsinkicommission.house.gov/files/Lee%20Statement.pdf

Statement for the U.S. Helsinki Commission:

I am delighted my colleagues are holding this important hearing today, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share some thoughts and a statement on this important topic. It is truly unfortunate that it takes horrific events for us in America to stop and examine how our taxpayer dollars are being expended in support of supranational governance overseas in ways that wreak havoc and upend principles of sovereignty for others. My deepest sympathies are with the Bitkov Family today, and with all of those whose lives have been irreparably altered by egregious violations of law and order.

The UN’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) is an unwieldy beast. All organizations, even those created with the best of intentions, must have proper oversight and accountability mechanisms built-in. While initially created to root-out corruption and uphold rule of law, CICIG both in principle and application has become an extrajudicial, partial and unfair arbiter in Guatemala. Since its inception in 2007, the U.S. has  spent more than $44.5 million on CICIG. While our U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has called on the entity to remain intact, she has also called on the organization to be less overt and political, saying it should not be in the paper every day. Unfortunately, the continued conflicts of personalities between Guatemalan politicians and leadership of CICIG has kept many in deep conflict over various charges of corruption and challenges of leadership. No organization should be beholden to one man in the way at CICIG is intertwined with Commissioner Ivan Velasquez.  An entity that is truly unbiased should continue its mission regardless of who is in charge. This is in part why we – and others who financially support CICIG – must increase oversight over this body, ensuring our funds are spent responsibly. CICIG should be operating to root-out real corruption, rather than building up or tearing down political winners and losers. It pains me to see sovereignty continually thrown by the wayside as has been the case in Guatemala. It is unfair to average citizens. It has been unfair to the Bitkovs. It is unfair to all who seek a free and prosperous Guatemala.

Today I wish the CICG never was established. I wish that we could have spent all these funds and all this time working yes on corruption issues, but also on transnational crime. Or on creating economic opportunity for both Guatemalans and Americans. Or on strengthen the actual government of Guatemala established by the people of Guatemala. As long as we keep using our resources to drive political wedges and undermine what freethinking human beings made in the image of God want their country to be, we will fail to seize the true opportunities for growth before us.

Request that a hold be placed on the Department of State´s intent to obligate $6,000,00 of FYl7 International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement funds to support the CICIG
Request that a hold be placed on the Department of State´s intent to obligate $6,000,00 of FYl7 International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement funds to support the CICIG

Permalink:

https://chrissmith.house.gov/uploadedfiles/letter_of_rep._c_smith_to_chairman_r_frelinghuysen_re_hold_on_cicig_funding_may_7_2018.pdf

May 7, 2018

The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen
Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
H-305 The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen,

Further to the attached Congressional Notification, we write to request that a hold be placed on the Department of State’s intent to obligate $6,000,000 of FYI 7 International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement funds to support the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG, per its acronym in Spanish). The notification was sent to Congress on April 23, and any hold must be placed within fifteen calendar days of that date.

CICIG has been implicated in a miscarriage of justice, in which evidence indicates CICIG acted as the operational agent of Kremlin insiders pursuing a vendetta against a Russian family that sought refuge from them in Guatemala. This was first publicized in a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal, and was substantiated and detailed in an April 27 hearing of the Helsinki Commission entitled “The Long Arm of Injustice: Did a UN Commission Founded to Fight Corruption Help the Kremlin Destroy a Russian Family?” The hearing included testimony from the Bitkovs’ lawyers and William Browder, a prominent activist in the defense of victims of Kremlin lawlessness, who led support for the Magnitsky Act (P.L. 112-208) and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (P.L. 114-328).

Congress has a special responsibility in this matter because the United States is one of the largest contributors to CICIG’s budget, and has, until now, applied little oversight of CICIG. In light of this, we request that no further funds be dispensed until such time as Congress has conducted appropriate oversight on CICIG.

We welcome the opportunity to provide you with additional information should that be helpful.

CONGRESSIONAL NOTIFICATION TRANSMITTAL SHEET

We wish to inform you of the Department of State´s intent to obligate Fiscal Year 2017 International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) funds. This notification is being submitted on behalf of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

  • Department of State – $6,000,000

These fund will support the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.  The planned activities are explained further in the attached enclosure. 

The Attached notification was sent to the Congress on Obligations ay be incurred in fifteen calendars days. 

Sincerely,

Enclosure:
As stated

PROGRAM: State Western Hemisphere Regional: Central America Security Iniciative (CARSI), Guatemala
APPROPRIATION CATEGORY: International Narcotics Control and Law
PROJECT TITLE: Rule of Law
INTENDED FY 2018 OBLIGATION: $6,000,000 (FY 2017 INCLE)

Pursuant to section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), and sections 7015(c) and (t) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2017 (Div. J, P,L, 1 15-31) (SFOAA), the Department of State intends to obligate $6,000,000 in FY 2017 INCLE funds to support the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), as described herein. These funds will support the ongoing efforts of CICIG to assist the Guatemalan Public Ministry to combat impunity in Guatemala.

The US. Strategy for Central America (the Strategy) promotes prosperity, governance, and
security in the region, with a focus on the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The Strategy complements the work undertaken by national  governments, multilateral development banks, and other international donors to support the priority objectives identified by the Northern Triangle countries in their Plan for the Alliance for Prosperity. The Strategy focuses on three overarching lines of action: l) promoting prosperity and regional economic integration, 2) enhancing citizen security, and 3) promoting improved governance. FY 2017 INCLE funds continue to support CARSI programs, including CICIG in Guatemala in support of the governance objective of the Strategy, as described herein.

International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala
Rule of Law and Human Rights – $6,000,000 

The Commission’s mandate, agreed upon by the United Nations and the Government of Guatemala, and supported by the United States government and other international donors, permits CICIG to carry out independent investigations and complementary prosecutions with a focus on groups alleged to have infiltrated Guatemalan government institutions.

Funding will support the investigation of sensitive cases, the provision of technical assistance, and the transfer of investigative and prosecutorial capacity to the government institutions CICIG supports. CICIG. in collaboration with the Public Ministry will continue identifying the structures, activities, modes of operation, and sources of financing of clandestine groups. INL support for CICIG may include costs for staff and consultant salaries, travel, office equipment and supplies, and other requirements to allow CICIG to carry out its mission.

https://www.csce.gov/international-impact/events/long-arm-injustice
More information: https://www.csce.gov/international-impact/events/long-arm-injustice

 

 

More Information: https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearings?ID=CA765EBB-BFBA-4278-9778-F5EA6BBF1907
Advancing U.S. Interests in the Western Hemisphere: https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearings?ID=CA765EBB-BFBA-4278-9778-F5EA6BBF1907

Complete Hearing transcript (PDF)
https://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA00/20180711/108530/HHRG-115-FA00-Transcript-20180711.pdf

Part I
Audience of the Committee of International Affairs of the Senate of United States – 11th of July of 2018

Part II
Audience of the Committee of International Affairs of the Senate of United States – 11th of July of 2018

On April 27, I presided a hearing on SERIOUS and INCREDIBLE allegations about the collusion between CICIG and THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT in the persecution of mistreatment and incarceration of a Russian Family, “THE BITKOVS”

– Senator Chris Smith –

What happened to the Bitkov family smells of collusion so I want to have exactly a detailed report of the CICIG that is not done just by asking Mr.  Iván Velásquez and some others: Hel there there was collusion?

– Senator Chris Smith –

2 days before we had the hearing in the Helsinki Commission The Constitutional Court of Guatemala  decided in favor of the Bitkovs and CICIG then appealed that resolution and now there will be another persecution which is absurd.

– Senator Chris Smith –

The small son of the Bitkov family is in a situation of risk  where the Russian government is trying to take him back to Russia.
The sentences received by the Bitkov are unusual and should be investigated more thoroughly to obtain a little more understanding about this case.
Our goal is for CICIG to be effective and for that we need the reforms in place

– Honorable Ed Royce –
President Hearing of the
US Foreign Affairs Committee

We have planned to
travel to Guatemala
from our committee,
we are concerned
about this creat bit issue
(Case of the Bitkov family).
So this visit is something that is NOT going to go simply and obviously of priority
in our agenda.

– Senator Paul Cook –
Member of the US Foreign Affairs Committee

Telling the truth does not make us a NetCenter

CICIG lied and will continue to lie to hide his true face before the national and international community.

Do not be fooled by the true face of CICIG!

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