Guatemalan Police Files Depicting Abuse Found Print
Reuters
Sunday, July 17, 2005; A21

GUATEMALA CITY, July 16 -- About 30,000 police files have been unearthed and confirm that human rights abuses took place in the 1980s at the height of the country's civil war, Guatemala's human rights ombudsman said Saturday.

The documents, discovered in archives of the now defunct National Police, contain information about disappearances in the 36-year civil war during which rights groups estimate 200,000 people died and 50,000 vanished, ombudsman Sergio Morales said.

"This is one of the most important discoveries in recent times," he told local radio.

Security forces are accused of carrying out illegal detentions, disappearances, summary executions, kidnappings and torture during the war, which ended in 1996 with peace accords between the government and leftist insurgents.

The war pitted largely poor rural dwellers against a government backed by the United States and Guatemala's urban elite. The army was accused of wiping out entire villages that it said harbored guerrillas.

Activists from dozens of rights organizations have demanded the Guatemalan government carry out a full examination of the archives.
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