#FreeZamora: Sign the petition urging the Guatemalan authorities to immediately release elPeriódico’s publisher!

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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 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.

Arrested at his home on 29 July 2022, elPeriódico’s founder Zamora has been held in solitary confinement for the past year. When members of a press freedom delegation that included RSF managed to visit him in prison in May, he told them he had been subjected to psychological torture.

On 14 June, after an expedited trial in which he was denied the right to a fair and equitable defence, Zamora was sentenced to six years in prison on trumped-up money laundering charges. Two further cases have been opened against him on charges of obstructing justice and using false documents. 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.

The Public Ministry, which requested a 40-year prison sentence for Zamora, is currently at the centre of a political controversy in Guatemala. The day after the results of the first round of the presidential election were confirmed, it requested the dissolution of the party of one of the two front-runners to prevent him from contesting the second round on 20 August.

Journalism is in danger in Guatemala. Jose Rubén Zamora’s conviction without a fair trial, and the persecution that resulted in his newspaper’s closure, are unacceptable.

We ask you to urgently sign this petition calling on the Guatemalan authorities to release Jose Rubén Zamora immediately, drop all charges against him, and end the criminalisation of journalism in Guatemala. #FreeZamora!

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