Guatemala's president seeks jail terms of up to 30 years for people smugglers

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Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei addresses the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly successful New York City, U.S., September 22, 2021. Justin Lane/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

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GUATEMALA CITY, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei presented an inaugural to Congress connected Friday to drastically summation jailhouse presumption for radical smugglers, with sentences of up to 30 years for the worst offenders.

For galore years Guatemala has been a cardinal transit state for impoverished Central American migrants - including Guatemalans - who marque the treacherous travel crossed Mexico to the United States successful hunt of a amended life.

But Guatemala's authorities has sought to ace down connected people-smuggling gangs aft dozens of migrants died successful high-profile incidents either done overcrowding successful transport vehicles oregon astatine the hands of transgression groups.

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Giammattei projected raising the sentences for smugglers, known arsenic "coyotes", to betwixt 10 and 30 years from the 2 to 5 years presently acceptable retired nether Guatemalan law.

"I reaffirm my government's committedness to toughen situation sentences against coyotes and traffickers " Giammattei said successful a code to Congress, adding that the United States should besides extradite radical smugglers.

The connection states that if smugglers transport minors, large women oregon migrants are subjected to inhumane treatment, the penalties could beryllium adjacent higher.

Giammattei's announcement comes weeks aft 55 mostly Guatemalan migrants died erstwhile the overcrowded motortruck ferrying them done confederate Mexico overturned.

The Guatemalan president called for the betterment to beryllium passed arsenic a substance of nationalist urgency. But the changes indispensable archetypal beryllium debated and get the support of astatine slightest two-thirds of the 160 members of Congress.

The measure is seen to person a bully accidental of passing arsenic the ruling enactment could get the indispensable votes done alliances and the enactment it has from different benches.

Guatemalan migration authorities said connected Friday that they were besides keeping an oculus connected different imaginable caravan of migrants that would permission Honduras astatine the play and effort to transverse Guatemala.

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Editing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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