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Arrest of outstanding Guatemalan journalist attracts condemnation


GUATEMALA CITY — 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 José Ruben Zamora Marroquín at his house on Friday evening, looking out his house, 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 purpose now could be to not pursue those that are corrupt, however reasonably 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 isn’t a criminal offense!”

Zamora Marroquín has declared a starvation strike. Talking earlier than a courtroom 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 Lawyer 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 common 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. checklist 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 prime officers, together with former presidents, behind bars. They are saying these prosecutions themselves have been irregular.

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



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