Latin America & Caribbean

Guatemala lawyer who defended Rios Montt shot dead

Guatemalan lawyer Francisco Palomo attends a trial at court in Guatemala City. 5 Jan 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Francisco Palomo was a long-time friend of Gen Rios Montt

A lawyer who represented former Guatemalan military leader Efrain Rios Montt against genocide charges has been shot dead.

Francisco Palomo was shot at least 12 times by gunmen in Guatemala City.

Mr Palomo, 63, defended Gen Rios Montt against charges connected to the killing of more than 1,700 indigenous Guatemalans in the 1980s.

The general was sentenced to 80 years in prison two years ago but his conviction was overturned.

A retrial scheduled for January has been postponed indefinitely because of a legal dispute.

Mr Palomo was shot in the chest and face while driving his car at about midday on Wednesday, emergency services spokesman Raul Hernandez said.

Witnesses said the gunmen were on a motorcycle.

"The victim, still alive, tried to flee the attack and drove a few metres before crashing into a tree," Mr Hernandez said.

The motive for the killing is still not clear.

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