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YouTube video: Lawyer hired his own killer

world Updated: Jan 15, 2010 00:59 IST
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It was the murder that spawned a macabre YouTube sensation and threatened to topple Guatemala’s government.

Hitmen shot dead Rodrigo Rosenberg, a 47-year-old lawyer, in Guatemala City soon after he recorded a sombre video blaming his imminent assassination on President Ålvaro Colom and other senior officials.

The 18-minute testimonial — which surfaced at the funeral — was uploaded to the Net and triggered a political storm in the central American country.

Now, in a bizarre twist, it is alleged Rosenberg masterminded his own murder to frame the president. A UN investigation has concluded the lawyer, depressed over personal problems and angry with the government, sacrificed his own life in an elaborate sting.

“Who planned the act? We have to conclude that it was Rodrigo Rosenberg himself,” Carlos Castresana, head of the UN commission, told a stunned country . “He decided to sacrifice his life in exchange for a change in the country. There can be no other explanation.”

In a news conference the president, who faced protests and resignation calls, said he had been vindicated and that the country could move on.

Since May Rosenberg’s video has been broadcast on TV, sold on DVD, gone viral on YouTube and attracted so many online viewers some sites crashed.

According to the probe, he asked two brothers, cousins of his first wife, to help him find a hitman, citing a problem with a supposed extortionist. Unknown to the cousins Rosenberg himself was the target.