Call for the release of elPeriódico editor, held in appalling conditions!
Support Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF’s) campaign for the release of Jose Rubén Zamora, who has been held in appalling conditions since 29 July 2022 and was sentenced in June to six years in prison following an unfair trial. He risks an even longer sentence on appeal.
Zamora was arrested on 29 July 2022, five days after El Periódico published information about cases of corruption involving people close to President Alejandro Giammattei. Eight journalists who used to work for the newspaper are also accused of obstructing justice in connection with a separate case against Zamora. Most of them have fled the country, as has Zamora’s wife, who left the day before the verdict was announced.
The journalist has been in prison for a year in Guatemala. Subjected to judicial harassment, in June 2023 he was sentenced to six years in prison on trumped-up charges. The six-year sentence, imposed 10 days before the first round of the presidential election, was intended to sow terror and dissuade journalists from publishing investigations that could embarrass the government.
"I am a political prisoner and I have been treated as such"i.
Who is José Rubén Zamora?
Zamora is one of Guatemala’s leading journalists and elPeriódico, the newspaper he founded in 1996, has set itself apart through its explosive investigations exposing corruption among the ruling elite. Subjected to judicial harassment, which increased under President Alejandro Giammattei, and to crippling fines, elPeriódico was forced to shut down last May.
What RSF calls for and what has been done to achieve this goal
It is clear that Zamora is a scapegoat and that his conviction is being used to send a message to the whole professions. During a joint mission to the country last May, RSF was able to observe the judicial harassment targeting journalists who investigate corruption or simply cover trials of those close to power. This criminalisation of journalism has increased in recent years, driving at least 20 journalists into exile, according to the Guatemalan Association of Journalists (APG).
Democracy and journalism are in danger in Guatemala. Jose Rubén Zamora’s conviction without a fair trial and the judicial persecution against his newspaper are unacceptable.
2. Campaign kit
This kit contains:
Visuals to share on social media
Cover photos for social media
We need you to amplify this campaign and share Zamora's story! To help secure his release, post these visuals, display this sign, and share this petition. Every action counts!
Publish each visual, mentioning the RSF social media account and using the hashtag #FreeZamora