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Page last updated at 22:26 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 23:26 UK

Guatemala dismisses murder link

President Alvaro Colom
The allegation against President Colom is a conspiracy, says the government

The Guatemalan government has dismissed allegations linking President Alvaro Colom to the death of a lawyer.

A videotape recorded by the lawyer, Rodrigo Rosenberg, prior to his death, claims that Mr Colom would be responsible for his murder.

Mr Rosenberg alleges that he would have been killed because of his links to a client, a prominent businessman, who was killed in March with his daughter.

But Mr Colom said: "The video is totally false, my conscience is clear."

Mr Rosenberg, 47, was shot dead on Sunday in Guatemala City.

In the video distributed to Guatemala's media, Mr Rosenberg is seen seated at a desk and speaking into a microphone.

Mr Rosenberg says: "If you are watching this message, it is because I was assassinated by President Alvaro Colom with help from Gustavo Alejos."

He alleged his client, Khalil Musa, was killed because he was going to reveal government corruption.

At news conferences arranged after it was shown repeatedly on local television, President Colom said: "This government is not guilty of thuggery or assassination."

The government spokesman, Fernando Barillas, earlier said the serious allegations against Mr Colom were a conspiracy to destabilise the country.

"This reveals the intention of creating a political crisis around a case that should be investigated and processed by the courts," Mr Barillas said.



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