Guatemala City, February 28, 2023 – The Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday called on Guatemalan authorities to stop any investigation of columnists and employees of elPeriódico newspaper, release its president José Rubén Zamora unconditionally, and allow the newspaper’s staff to work freely.
Judge Jimi Bremer, acting on a request by prosecutor Cinthya Monterroso of the Guatemalan Prosecutor’s Office, ordered an investigation Tuesday into journalists and columnists of elPeriódico newspaper as part of a new criminal case against Zamora, according to multiple news reports.
“Guatemalan authorities should immediately stop any investigation into the columnists and employees of elPeriódico and any further prosecution of its president, José Ruben Zamora,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York. “Authorities’ targeting of the publication’s staff after Zamora’s arrest on dubious financial charges is a clear attempt by the prosecutors to intimidate and harass an investigative outlet and journalists working tirelessly to expose corruption.”
During Tuesday’s initial hearing bringing new charges against Zamora of “conspiracy to obstruct justice,” Monterroso said those she wanted investigated — Zamora’s colleagues Édgar Gutiérrez, Gersón Ortiz, Julia Corado, Gonzalo Marroquín Godoy, Christian Velix, Alexander Valdez, Ronny Ríos, and Denis Aguilar — had obstructed justice by criticizing the prosecutor’s office for its actions against Zamora and not telling the truth about the charges against him.
Zamora has been imprisoned since July 29, 2022.