The attorney for a well known Guatemalan defense lawyer is wondering whether his client is being kept out of the United States because of the controversial figures he has represented.
Fernando Linares Beltranena, a conservative attorney known for representing military officers and accused narcotics traffickers, filed a Freedom of Information Act suit Monday, seeking documents that might explain why the United States denied his visa application.
In 2006, the State Department rejected Beltranena’s request for a non-immigrant visa, citing a statute that bars foreigners from entry into the U.S. if there is reason to suspect they have been involved in drug trafficking. In letters sent to the State Department, Beltranena denied any involvement in the drug trade.
“On the surface it is troubling,” said Beltranena’s lawyer, W. Asa Hutchinson, senior partner of the W. Asa Hutchinson Law Group in Rogers, Ark. “It almost seems the government is holding him accountable for what his clients do.”
In 1991, Beltranena served as Guatemala’s first-ever special prosecutor, investigating a case in which a group of American nuns claimed they were raped by local military.