|Walter Overdick gives his testimony. Graham Hunt|
The same morning, in the very same court room immediately prior to López Fuentes’ indictment, another hearing was held regarding the 1978 Panzós massacre, recognized as the first massacre of Guatemala’s darkest period of “scorched earth” counterinsurgency. Former mayor of Panzós Walter Overdick related how Maya Q’eqchi’ farmers were shot by the military in the town square of Panzós following a protest for land rights and against the kidnapping of local leaders, and accused powerful landowners of having coordinated with the military to repress the movement. The 74-year old Overdick’s detailed testimony will be entered into evidence in the ongoing legal process. The surviving witnesses and family members of the more than 100 victims of the massacre are supported in their struggle for justice by the Association of Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared of Guatemala (FAMDEGUA). NISGUA also provides international human rights accompaniment to FAMDEGUA and participants in the Panzós case.