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HomeNewsArrest of distinguished Guatemalan journalist attracts condemnation

Arrest of distinguished Guatemalan journalist attracts condemnation



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GUATEMALA CITY — A distinguished 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 José Ruben Zamora Marroquín at his residence on Friday evening, looking his residence, seizing telephones and accusing him of cash laundering. Zamora Marroquín is a prize-winning journalist who heads the newspaper El Periodico.

“That is an orchestrated plan, the place the goal now’s to not pursue those that are corrupt, however fairly opponents,” mentioned human rights activist Eleonora Muralles. “The technique is to coopt the entire system and have judges — with critical doubts about their impartiality — put collectively instances and proof in opposition to opponents.”

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

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 is just not a criminal offense!”

Zamora Marroquín 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 yr cancelled the U.S. visa of Guatemalan Legal professional Basic Consuelo Porras, who has been pursuing former prosecutors who had been conducting corruption investigations in opposition to 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 lawyer basic and what they see as a backsliding in Guatemala on battling corruption. The nation’s new particular prosecutor in opposition to impunity has been positioned on a U.S. record 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.

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

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