The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Fourth trial against Erwin Sperisen scheduled in Geneva

The former police chief of Guatemala, Erwin Sperisen, who was convicted of accessory to murder, will have to stand trial again next fall. The fourth trial against him will take place at the Court of Appeal in Geneva between September 2 and 13.

The Geneva judicial authorities confirmed a report by local television station Léman Bleu to the Keystone-SDA news agency on Thursday. Sperisen is accused of being involved in the killing of seven prisoners in Guatemala in 2006, when the Guatemalan security forces stormed a prison that had come under the control of influential prisoners.

In the first two trials, the Swiss-Guatemalan dual national was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. When he stood trial for the third time in Geneva, he was only accused of accessory to murder. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

Eleven years in captivity

Sperisen spent more than eleven years in prison. The 53-year-old was released in October 2023. The Federal Court overturned his conviction in June 2023 following a decision by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Strasbourg judges came to the conclusion that the President of the Appeals Chamber of the Geneva Court of Appeal was biased during the trial in April 2018. This violated the accused's right to an impartial court.

An application for recusal of the judge in charge of this fourth trial has yet to be decided by the Federal Supreme Court. Sperisen's lawyers complain that this judge is too close to the first prosecutor bringing the charges. Sperisen was arrested in 2012 in Geneva, where he had fled with his family in 2007.


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