By Sofia Menchu
GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Former Guatemalan attorney general and recent presidential candidate Thelma Aldana said on Monday that the United States had granted asylum, days after her successor filed an extradition request for alleged irregularities during her term. .
"This is great news for me, but it must also be for the courageous prosecutors who in Guatemala and other countries are fighting for justice in the world," Aldana told Reuters. "It gives me a lot of peace, but also nostalgia."
The former anti-corruption crusade, which is already in the United States, faces two lawsuits in Guatemala for irregularities that she allegedly committed during her 2014-2018 term.
Aldana helped to uncover corruption in the cases that led to the conviction and imprisonment of former President Otto Perez. She supported the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, which left the country last year after the government did not renew its mandate.
Eliot Engel, chairman of the US House of Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the decision to grant asylum on Twitter. "Thelma is an advocate for justice and this is a major victory for the international fight against corruption," he wrote.
Last year, Aldana was barred from running for president because of an arrest warrant against her in a corruption case that supporters said was exalted.
With Aldana and another important rival excluded, the election was won by conservative Alejandro Giammattei.
(Reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City and Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City; written by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Christopher Cushing)