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Swiss drug smugglers submit new appeal in Guatemala

Nicholas Hänggi (left) and Silvio Giovanolli were given 20-year prison sentences after being convicted of drug smuggling in 1998 Keystone Archive

Lawyers representing two Swiss men sentenced to 12 years for drug smuggling in Guatemala are expected to submit a second appeal to the supreme court on Wednesday. Nicolas Hänggi and Silvio Giovanoli had their last appeal thrown out a month ago.

This content was published on April 25, 2001 - 14:25

The two men's lawyers are expected to argue that the previous appeal was compromised by procedural errors. At the time, the Swiss ambassador in Guatemala, Christian Hauswirth, said he thought the defendants would have little chance of bringing the case to court again.

The new appeal is the latest twist in a long-running legal saga, which began in 1997, when the two men were arrested on suspicion of smuggling cocaine worth $100 million (SFr172 million) to Europe in containers carrying ornamental flowers.

They were convicted the following year, along with three others, and sentenced to prison terms of up to 20 years.

After appeals by both the defendants and the Guatemalan authorities, three of those convicted were freed, including Hänggi's father, Andreas, a former Nestlé executive.

Hänggi and Giovanoli were then re-tried in August 2000, and were handed down sentences of 12 years each.

swissinfo with agencies

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