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Arrest of Guatemalan journalist draws condemnation from activists, politicians – National

A outstanding Guatemalan newspaper editor who has overseen investigations into corruption has been arrested, prompting denunciations Saturday by politicians, anticorruption activists and civic teams.

Prosecution brokers arrested Jose Ruben Zamora Marroquin at his residence on Friday night time, looking his residence, seizing telephones and accusing him of cash laundering. Zamora Marroquin is a prize-winning journalist who heads the newspaper El Periodico.

“That is an orchestrated plan, the place the goal now could be to not pursue those that are corrupt, however relatively opponents,” mentioned human rights activist Eleonora Muralles. “The technique is to coopt the entire system and have judges – with severe doubts about their impartiality – put collectively instances and proof towards opponents.”

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Journalists protested Saturday outdoors a courthouse the place the case is being heard.

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U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, wrote that he was “deeply involved” by the detention.

McGovern wrote in his Twitter account, “The judiciary is already decimated, is the Free Press subsequent? Journalism isn’t a criminal offense!”

Zamora Marroquin has declared a starvation strike. Talking earlier than a court docket listening to, he mentioned, “I haven’t eaten something nor drunk any water in 36 hours.”

The U.S. authorities has sharply criticized the weakening of anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala and final 12 months cancelled the U.S. visa of Guatemalan Lawyer Common Consuelo Porras, who has been pursuing former prosecutors who had been conducting corruption investigations towards officers..

Greater than former anti-corruption officers have fled the nation. Now that effort seems to have prolonged to journalists.

Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei has been dismissive of U.S. officers’ criticism of his legal professional normal and what they see as a backsliding in Guatemala on battling corruption. The nation’s new particular prosecutor towards impunity has been positioned on a U.S. listing of individuals suspected of corruption or undermining democracy. He’s accused of obstructing corruption investigations.

Giammattei’s authorities and prosecutors accelerated efforts begun by his predecessor to undo a U.N.-backed anti-corruption marketing campaign that put a number of high officers, together with former presidents, behind bars. They are saying these prosecutions themselves had been irregular.

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Furthermore, a variety of the Guatemalans, together with two Supreme Courtroom magistrates, had been allegedly concerned in a scheme to stack the Supreme and Appellate Courts with corrupt judges, in line with the State Division report.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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