The United States has requested that the due process rights of Guatemalan journalist José Rubén Zamora, critical of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, and who was detained by security forces on Friday, be respected.
“Safeguarding freedom of the press is essential for democracy. The United States urges full respect for due process under Guatemalan law and the protection of the personal security of José Rubén Zamora,” the head of the State Department said on Twitter. from USA for Latin America, Brian A. Nichols.
Nichols also asked that the right to due process and the security of the assistant of the Special Prosecutor against Impunity (FECI), Samari Gómez Díaz, who was arrested on Friday along with Zamora be respected on charges of disclosing confidential information.
Zamora, founder of the newspaper elPeriódico in 1996, announced this Saturday that he has declared a hunger strike in protest at his arrest and also said he fears for his life.
It is expected that in the next few hours Zamora will appear before a judge on duty who will notify him of the reasons for his capture.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity of the Public Ministry accuses the journalist of the crimes of money laundering, influence peddling, blackmail and money laundering conspiracy.
The journalist, founder and president of El Periódico, denounced in October 2021 that President Alejandro Giammattei, together with the attorney general and head of the Public Ministry, Consuelo Porras, were “fabricating” a case against him to imprison him.
Porras was sanctioned in September 2021 by the United States under accusations of “obstructing justice” in Guatemala, but despite this, Giammattei re-elected her last May for four more years.
Zamora is one of the most recognized journalists in Guatemala and, in 2021, he won one of the Rey de España International Journalism Awards.
The publications of Zamora and El Periódico in the last decade evidenced various acts of corruption in the governments of Otto Pérez Molina and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti (2021-2015), but also in the administrations of Jimmy Morales (2016-2020) and the Giammattei himself.
Several organizations have condemned his arrest, including the Association of Journalists of Guatemala, which considers the arrest “revenge” against the journalist for his work.