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Ex-Guatemala Supreme Court president shot dead

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Guatemala City (AFP)

The ex-president of the Guatemalan Supreme Court was shot dead Friday during an incident on the outskirts of the capital Guatemala City, according to emergency personnel.

Jose Arturo Sierra, who presided over the high court between 2013 and 2014, was attacked by unknown perpetrators while traveling by road, and was taken to hospital where he died, authorities announced on Twitter.

While officials have not confirmed the circumstances surrounding the attack, local press reported witness accounts of two people firing at Sierra, 72, from a motorcycle.

The CSJ "strongly" denounced the crime, which in a statement it said "adds to the widespread violence" in Guatemala.

The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) echoed the condemnation, and recognized Sierra's "vocation as a judge that he demonstrated in different positions in the Guatemalan justice system."

Violence in Guatemala leaves thousands dead every year, with around half attributed by authorities to drug trafficking and activity related to the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gangs. A total of 5,384 people were killed in 2017, mostly in shootings.

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