In May 2018, the judges of the Highest Risk Court C sentenced General Manuel Benedicto Lucas García, former head of the Presidential General Staff; Manuel Callejas y Callejas, former intelligence chief; and Hugo Ramiro Zaldaña, former intelligence officer, to 58 years in prison; and to 33 years in prison to Francisco Luis Gordillo, former commander of the military zone “General Manuel Lisandro Barillas”, in Quetzaltenango, for crimes against  humanity and forced disappearance of the child Marco Antonio Molina Theissen; and rape with aggravation of the sentence in the case of Emma Molina Theissen.

In an attempt to continue with their current impunity agenda, on March 8, 2023, the Constitutional Court (CC) approved an appeal to grant house arrest to retired military officers Francisco Luis Gordillo Martínez, Manuel Antonio Callejas y Callejas and Benedicto Lucas García.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) recommended that the State of Guatemala refrain from complying with the resolution of the Constitutional Court. Accordingly, The First Court of High Risk complied with IACHR’s resolution and denied the substitutive measures and the former military convicted of committing serious crimes must remain in preventive prison, serving the sentence for the actions committed against Marco Antonio and Emma Molina Theissen in 1981.

We invite you to read CALDH’s statement where they reaffirm that serious human rights violations do not have substitute measure:


In response to the unconstitutional arguments of ex-military officer Francisco Luis Gordillo Martínez in the Molina Theissen case, in which he alleges that the crime for which he was convicted at the first-instance ruling does not exist, we urge that the First Chamber of the Appeals Court DISMISS the request, consistent with what is ordered by the law.

On the 23rd of May, 2018, the High Risk Crimes Court “C” sentenced him to 33 years with aggravation of the penalty for the crime of Emma Guadalupe Molina Theissen rape. Along with him, three ex-senior military officials were sentenced to 58 years in prison for the aforementioned crime as well as the forced disappearance of the child, Marco Antonio Molina Theissen.

In this context, this concrete request for unconstitutionality presented by the convicted Gordillo Martínez is inadmissible given that his arguments are confusing and contradictory; the fundamental basis of his request is that the crime of sexual assault with an aggravated penalty does not exist in our legal system, which is completely false. In fact, it is detailed in article 174 of the Guatemalan Penal Code, referring to rape and sexual assault (articles 173 and 173 bis), in the following terms: “Aggravation of penalties. The penalty to be imposed for the crimes delineated in the previous articles will be increased by two thirds in the following cases: 7. When the actor was an official or public employee or a professional exercising his or her functions”.

This request for unconstitutionality is one more on a list of appeals that seek to both change the measure of coercion measures and to annul the sentence, which proves again the malicious use of law to favor criminals convicted of crimes against humanity, which are imprescriptible and without a right to substitutive  measures. Furthermore, it intends to distort the process by maintaining an argument that went unquestioned during the trial.

In a public hearing scheduled for today, the 20th of April at 1pm, the unwarranted arguments of this appeal will be presented to the First Chamber, which we hope will be resolved in accordance with the law: DISMISSED.


En mayo de 2018, los jueces del Tribunal de Mayor Riesgo C condenaron a 58 años de prisión al general Manuel Benedicto Lucas García, exjefe del Estado Mayor Presidencial; a Manuel Callejas y Callejas, exjefe de inteligencia y a Hugo Ramiro Zaldaña, exoficial de inteligencia; y a 33 años de cárcel a Francisco Luis Gordillo, excomandante de la zona militar “General Manuel Lisandro Barillas”, en Quetzaltenango, por los delitos contra los deberes de humanidad y desaparición forzada del niño Marco Antonio Molina Theissen;  y violación con agravación de la pena en el caso de Emma Molina Theissen.

En un intento de continurar con la política estatal de impunidad, el pasado 8 de marzo, la Corte de Constitucionalidad (CC) otorgó un amparo orientado a que se les otorgue arresto domiciliario, a los militares retirados Francisco Luis Gordillo Martínez, Manuel Antonio Callejas y Callejas y Manuel Benedicto Lucas García.

La Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (Corte IDH) recomendó al Estado de Guatemala abstenerse de acatar la resolución de la CC. En consecuencia, la Sala Primera de Mayor Riesgo acató la resolución dictada por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (Corte IDH) y negó las medidas sustitutivas.  

Los militares condenados por la comisión de delitos graves deberán permanecer en prisión preventiva, cumpliendo la condena por las acciones cometidas en contra de Marco Antonio y Emma Molina Theissen en 1981.

Te invitamos a leer el comunicado de CALDH donde reafirman que las graves violaciones a derechos humanos no tienen medida sustituiva

Texto en español del comunicado con borde rojo, azul y violeta