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José Rubén Zamora Marroquín: Guatemalan authorities raid newspaper offices and detain journalist

Authorities say that Zamora, who’s the director of the newspaper El Periódico, is suspected of involvement in a cash laundering case.

However his son José Carlos Zamora instructed CNN that he believed the arrest was an act of retaliation, and an try at censorship as a result of newspaper’s criticism of President Alejandro Giammattei’s authorities.

Zamora “is without doubt one of the important critics of the federal government of Alejandro Giammattei, and his arrest passed off 5 days after sturdy complaints in opposition to a number of officers and former officers for corruption in a Sunday part of the morning paper,” El Periodico stated in an announcement posted on Twitter.

Zamora’s arrest “just isn’t associated to his exercise as a journalist,” particular prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche instructed radio station Emisoras Unidas.

Authorities raided the newspaper’s workplaces and Zamora’s dwelling earlier than arresting him, Curruchiche additionally stated.

CNN has requested prosecutors for extra data however has not but acquired a response. CNN has additionally reached out to Zamora’s authorized illustration however has not but acquired a response.

“Guatemalan authorities ought to instantly launch and drop any felony prices in opposition to journalist José Rubén Zamora, president of elPeriódico,” stated Gypsy Guillén Kaiser, the Advocacy Director of the Committee to Shield Journalists.

The US State Division’s undersecretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, Brian Nichols, additionally spoke out in opposition to Zamora’s detention on Twitter, urging Guatemala towards “full respect of due course of.”

Freedom of the press is enshrined in Guatemala’s structure. Nonetheless, journalists have been increasingly targeted for their reporting lately, in response to press freedom group Reporters with out Borders (RSF).

“Journalists and media retailers who examine or criticize acts of corruption and human rights violations steadily endure aggression within the type of harassment campaigns and felony prosecution,” RSF stated.

The group ranked Guatemala 124 of 180 international locations worldwide on its annual Press Freedom Index in 2022.

Many journalists in Guatemala really feel they’re being watched, stated Evelyn Blanck, a journalist and coordinator of Centro Civitas, a corporation for freedom of expression.

“Now we’re watching the response of El Periódico. And since (police) additionally raided the newspaper’s amenities and had been there for greater than 12 hours, we wish to know in the event that they took paperwork, we wish to know in the event that they touched the tools. In different phrases, we’re involved concerning the safety of the newsroom,” Blanck instructed CNN.

She additionally pointed to a pattern of assaults in opposition to the press elsewhere within the area — citing the instance of Nicaragua specifically, the place arrests of critics and newsroom raids have been repeatedly documented since the country’s mass protests in 2018.

“My opinion is that what has occurred is that these anti-democratic actors have fastidiously seen [Nicaraguan President Daniel] Ortega’s actions and have additionally evaluated the worldwide response. And in that sense, the case of Nicaragua has been a precedent for what has now occurred in El Salvador, in Guatemala.”

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