Weekly Report - 22 June 2023 (WR-23-25)

GUATEMALA: High-profile journalist convicted

“A serious blow to democracy and freedom of expression”. This was the response by US-based rights lobby group Washington Office on Latin America (Wola) and a string of other NGOs to the six-year prison sentence handed down last week to renowned journalist José Rubén Zamora, on money-laundering charges which are widely considered spurious. The ruling against Zamora, the founder of investigative media elPeriódico and a prominent critic of President Alejandro Giammattei, was not a surprise given the compromised nature of Guatemala’s institutions. It signals a further blow to the country’s democracy ahead of general elections on 25 June, amid an electoral process which has similarly drawn alarm from rights groups due to questionable rulings by the discredited electoral authority (TSE) [WR-23-21].

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