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Rubio, Smith, Salazar Raise Concerns with Persecution of Bitkov Family

Nov 9, 2023 | Press Releases

The Bitkov family fled Russia in 2008 after receiving death threats. Now living in Guatemala on refugee status, the family’s freedom remains in jeopardy as the Guatemalan Supreme Court recently upheld an absurd 14-year jail sentence based on trumped-up charges.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) as well as Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ), and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL) released a joint statement requesting the Guatemalan Constitutional Court to apply the rule of law.

  • “The ongoing harassment of the Bitkov family – victims of Russia’s long-arm persecution – shocks the conscience. There is a strong Congressional interest in this apparent miscarriage of justice in Guatemala. Russia’s interference in the family’s unjust imprisonment, originally supported by a rogue UN-agency called CICIG, and now continued by Guatemala’s Supreme Court, remains an outstanding concern for us. At a time when the free world is focused on Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine and their deceptive influence throughout the world – including Latin America and the Caribbean – our State Department should share our concern in countering Russian transnational repression directed at the Bitkov family. In the name of justice, we call on Guatemala’s Constitutional Court to review the Supreme Court’s decision and apply the rule of law.”