Monday, April 2, 2012

Brown, Cruz Seek Sanctions For Ecuador Over Double Murder Suspect

BROCKTON--U.S. Senator Scott Brown and District Attorney Timothy Cruz held a press conference Monday to call on Ecuador to return Luis Guaman to the United States to stand trial for the murder of Maria Avelina Palaguachi-Cela and her son Brian who were brutally murdered in Brockton last year.
“I was horrified to learn of the brutal death of Maria and Brian,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “I am deeply disappointed that Ecuador has not done the right thing and returned Luis Guaman to Brockton so that he can stand trial. I have worked all the diplomatic channels available to me as a senator, including communication with the government of Ecuador, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Justice Department. DA Cruz and I chose to make a public appeal today because Brockton deserves answers, and Maria and Brian deserve justice,” he added.
Maria Palaguachi-Cela and her 2-year-old son Brian were found bludgeoned to death in a dumpster near their Warren Avenue apartment last February. Guaman, described as a jilted lover and roommate, escaped the U.S. on a flight to Ecuador from New York City hours after the body of Palaguachi and her son were found. Cruz has been battling since to bring Guaman back to the U.S. to face murder charges. During a press conference following the murder indictments, Cruz said there is evidence, including blood, that link Guaman to the crime. In another of several attempts to have Guaman returned to the U.S., Brown said he has written another letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strongly requesting she put more pressure on Ecuadorian officials to return Guaman to the U.S. for trial.
In the letter Brown notes Ecuador has not only ignored Cruz's pleas to have Guaman returned for trial, but has also engaged in other "disappointing behavior" toward the U.S. including expelling Ambassador Heather Hodges from the country last April.
In a letter to Clinton, Brown writes:
"Finally, I ask that you seriously consider whether it is appropriate to send tens of millions of dollars in foreign assistance to Ecuador when it's government has not fostered a mutually beneficial relationship with our ambassador, and its leadership will not release a double murder suspect to Massachusetts. I stand ready to work with you to resolve this issue, including by introducing legislation to reduce eliminate foreign assistance to Ecuador."
District Attorney Cruz, who has said he will not give in to Ecuador and allow Guaman to be prosecuted in his native country, said Guaman's alleged crimes happened in the U.S. and this is where he should be tried.
“Americans have a right to live peaceably in their communities and to expect that their government will work actively to protect them,” Cruz said in the statement.
“The world is far less safe for our citizenry when others believe they can come to our soil, kill with impunity and then evade justice by fleeing to a country that will not live up to its obligation under international law to return him for prosecution. Failure to pursue Guaman will only embolden others to similarly act.”

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