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Up to 15 Years in Prison for Phone Theft in Guatemala

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Guatemala's Congress has passed a law making cell phone theft punishable with up to 15 years prison without parole.

The law, which was actually proposed a year ago with less stringent terms was passed after a debate earlier this week.

The law was passed by Congress which cited a "national emergency" in the issue of violence used in phone theft. Around 12,000 phones are stolen every month in the country, which has a population of 15 milion.

The new law also punishes people who buy phones which can be shown to have been on dubious origin, and the buyer was aware of that. Such a person can be sentenced with up to 10 years in prison, or fined up to US$12,000.

Mobile phone use within prisons has also been banned with an additional 2-4 years being added to an existing prison sentence.

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Tags: Guatemala