Former Guatemalan president faces corruption charges

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Handout picture released by the Guatemalan Ministry of Government showing former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo in a military prison
Image caption,
Mr Portillo was rearrested on 26 January

Former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo must stand trial on embezzlement charges, a judge in the country has ruled.

Mr Portillo is alleged to have stolen $15m (£9.6m) from the Defence Ministry while he was in power.

The ruling comes after the US requested Mr Portillo's extradition on separate corruption charges relating to $1.5m of foreign donations.

The 58-year-old served as president between 2000 and 2004.

After leaving office, he fled to Mexico but was sent back to Guatemala in 2008 to face charges - which he has repeatedly denied.

The former president has said he fled because he could not get a fair trial in Guatemala.

He was charged with corruption in Guatemala in 2008 but released on bail. He was then rearrested this January following an extradition request by the US.

The US accuses Mr Portillo of transferring funds that had been donated to the country for educational resources into foreign bank accounts.

Under Guatemalan law, Mr Portillo must be tried in his own country before being extradited abroad.

The trial is due to begin next month.