Victory for indigenous women held in sexual slavery during Guatemala’s civil war

This weekend, two former members of the Guatemalan military were found guilt of crimes against humanity for the rape, murder, and sexual enslavement of indigenous Maya women during the country’s civil war. Francisco Reyes Giron and Heriberto Valdez Asij were sentenced to 360 years in prison – and may they rot there.

This is a historic ruling for Guatemala, the first prosecution for the decades and decades of sexual violence the military used during a war that forcibly disappeared at least 30,000 people. It’s also the first time a national court has brought charges against people accused of crimes of sexual violence within its own borders. The crimes for which the men have been convicted occurred decades ago, but as in many countries in Latin America – see Haiti for example – the dictators and perpetrators of mass violence and oppression walked free.

Human rights activists hope that this will set a precedent for treating sexual slavery and violence as war crimes.

To read more about the case, see our previous coverage.

Header image credit: Moisés Castillo/AP

Bay Area, California

Juliana is a digital storyteller for social change. As a writer at Feministing since 2013, her work has focused on women's movements throughout the Americas for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice. In addition to her writing, Juliana is a Senior Campaigner at Change.org, where she works to close the gap between the powerful and everyone else by supporting people from across the country to launch, escalate and win their campaigns for justice.

Juliana is a Latina feminist writer and campaigner based in the Bay Area.

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