Guatemalan investigative reporter threatened

New York, July 2, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a death threat against a Guatemalan investigative journalist with the leading daily elPeriódico, who recently reported on corruption and human trafficking.

On June 25, two unidentified assailants broke into Marvin del Cid Acevedo’s home in Guatemala City around 10:30 a.m. while the journalist was at work, the local press reported. The attackers stole two computers and left a message written on a mirror saying, “You will die,” del Cid told CPJ.

Shortly before the attack, del Cid received several anonymous phone calls that were insulting and aggressively questioned his reporting, the journalist said. Security personnel at elPeriódico told the journalist that they saw a suspicious car following him on Monday, he said.

Del Cid filed a complaint with the police, and the prosecutor to investigate crimes against the press and union leaders. Local authorities have not disclosed any possible motive for the attack or identified any suspects.

“Guatemalan authorities must conduct a thorough investigation, identifying and prosecuting those responsible for these threats,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ Americas program senior coordinator. “Marvin del Cid Acevedo should be provided with protection so he can continue working without fear of intimidation.”

As part of elPeriódico’s investigative unit, del Cid recently wrote about an official from the Guatemalan Immigration Service accused of human trafficking. Prior to the attack, he also reported on alleged influence-peddling involving a congressman. The story was released on Monday. Del Cid also recently served as a witness in a trial against local police over its actions in a violent 2003 demonstration organized by supporters of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. Guatemalan journalist Héctor Ramírez was killed during the protests.