Guatemala President Perez Molina resigns as political crisis grips the country

The president has appeared in court to face corruption charges

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Guatemala is facing a political crisis after its president resigned amid a corruption scandal that has brought his government to the edge of collapse and arrived at court to hear charges against him.

Spokesman Jorge Ortega said President Perez Molina submitted his resignation at midnight on Wednesday after a judge issued an order to detain him in a customs fraud case. The case has already led to the jailing of his vice president, and the resignation of several cabinet ministers who withdrew their support for the president.

The Associated Press said that the resignation, the first by a Guatemalan president, is not effective until members of Congress accept it and name a new president. They were convening on Thursday to do so.

Security was tight around the courthouse where Mr Molina appeared mid-morning, with scores of police and members of the presidential guard stationed around the building.

Earlier in the day, he gave an interview to a local radio station, saying that he does not  “trust Guatemalan justice” and criticising the nation’s prosecutors and the United Nations commission that have mounted a huge investigation in the fiscal fraud case he was implicated in.