Friday, February 23, 2024
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We seek truth and justice in Guatemala 

Buscamos la verdad y la justicia en Guatemala - Familia Bitkov


This letter is addressed to all human beings who care about truth and justice. 

We are a family of Russian immigrants who fled political persecution by Vladimir Putin’s regime in April 2008 culminating in the theft of our successful business by Russian state banks. We had refused to pay bribes to officials. 

In good faith, we hired the law firm Cutino International Associates to process Guatemalan nationality and travel documents for us. These were officially issued in 2009, and we lived with these documents for six years without a problem. But it later turned out that the law firm had cheated us. The service it provided was fraudulent and the documents were invalid because they had been improperly issued. 

On January 15, 2015, our entire family -mother, father and daughter- were arrested in Guatemala by the UN anti-corruption agency CICIG, which was cooperating with the Kremlin in its persecution against us. They accused us of several offences related to the issuing of our identification documents. 

Our son, Vladimir, then three years old, was separated from us and sent to an orphanage for 42 days where he suffered physical abuse him and was forbidden to have contact with anyone he knew. He later was allowed to live with his legal guardians. 

We were held in preventive detention for three and a half years before being sentenced unimaginable jail terms for alleged passport violations: 19 years for Igor and 14 years each for Irina and Anastasia. 

Finally, reason seemed to prevail. The Constitutional Court annulled our convictions, taking into account Guatemalan and international law that considers that migrants have no criminal liability for the use and creation of identity or travel documents. 

Since 2016, we have filed three complaints against Cutino International Associates, but the former Attorney General, Thelma Aldana and Ivan Velasquez, Commissioner of the CICIG, have refused to investigate. 

As a result of an international media campaign conducted by our friends and supporters, we were recently released under house arrest and are now reunited with our son. 

Yet last week, the Constitutional Court issued a resolution contradicting its previous resolution and sending us for a re-trial. 

We are in no doubt that this lawlessness has occurred because of the influence of the Russian criminal state and its ally CICIG. The Russian system never stops trying to crush those who it believes to be its enemies. 

Our family has suffered emotionally and physically over the past three and a half years. Our numerous complaints to human rights organizations remain unanswered. 

We call for international support to help us put an end to the flagrant corruption of the judicial process in Guatemala by the Russian state. 

The Bitkov Family