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American Attorney Hopes New President Will Solve Case of Missing Rebel

January 7, 1996

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) _ American attorney Jennifer Harbury, who has spent years searching for her deceased Guatemalan rebel husband, said Saturday she hopes the country’s next president will clear up the case.

She spoke hours after a bullet smashed into her northeast Washington home and her attorney’s car was firebombed in the driveway of his residence, also in northeast Washington. The FBI is investigating the firebombing.

``I have every intention of talking with the new president to resolve this case and hope the new government will be more helpful than the last,″ Harbury said.

She said she believes her husband, rebel leader Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, was captured in a firefight in 1992 and slain by Guatemalan soldiers while in custody.

Harbury arrived during the final campaigning for Sunday’s presidential election. While visiting here Friday, the car belonging to her attorney was firebombed in the driveway at his home in northeast Washington.

Jose Pertierra, who has represented Harbury for three years, blamed the Guatemalan military. ``I have no enemies, but I do have one high-profile client _ Jennifer Harbury,″ he said.

The FBI said the fire appeared to have been caused by some sort of accelerant, such as gasoline. About 25 FBI agents were sent to the scene.

Harbury also said someone fired a single shot into her northeast Washington home Friday night. Her housemates heard a bullet smash a front-room window and found it embedded in a wall.

Susan Lloyd, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington office, said she had ``no indication there is a correlation″ between the bullet and the firebombing. She said gunplay is common in Harbury’s neighborhood.

Army spokesman Col. Guillermo Caal Avila denied involvement by the Guatemalan military in the firebombing.

The U.S. government has information linking Bamaca’s death to Col. Julio Roberto Alpirez, a CIA agent at the time.

Harbury believes her husband’s remains are buried at a military camp in northwest Guatemala. She has sought permission to have the body exhumed and has staged hunger strikes in Guatemala City and Washington.

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