Guatemalan journalist calls costs towards him a ‘set-up’

Remark

GUATEMALA CITY — A outstanding Guatemalan journalist’s preliminary listening to earlier than a choose was suspended Wednesday when the choose introduced that the defendant’s attorneys have been additionally targets of the federal government’s investigation.

Following the listening to, José Rubén Zamora, president of the newspaper El Periodico, mentioned that the case “is a set-up effectively designed and mounted by the president, attorney general and other people.”

Legal professional Common Consuelo Porras’ workplace arrested Zamora on a cost of cash laundering, however throughout Wednesday’s listening to Zamora and his attorneys have been additionally accused of extortion.

The brand new allegation meant Zamora’s attorneys might not defend their consumer from one thing they themselves have been accused of.

“Ethically it is not appropriate,” mentioned Romeo Montoya, certainly one of Zamora’s attorneys.

The extortion accusation got here from businessman Ronald Navarijo García, who himself had beforehand been arrested on corruption costs for allegedly colluding with administrators of Banco de los Trabajadores, or the Staff’ Financial institution, to embezzle its funds. Navarijo is below home arrest and his trial has not been scheduled.

Navarijo alleges Zamora extorted him for about $25,000 to affect the case towards him.

Zamora mentioned he just lately met with Navarijo. In that assembly, he mentioned, Navarijo instructed him that prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche, who’s prosecuting Zamora, requested Navarijo for 15% of the greater than $4.2 million that the Legal professional Common’s Workplace has frozen within the businessman’s case.

Zamora added that Navarijo instructed him that Curruchiche requested for one thing else, too: that Navarijo report “people who were bothersome for the Attorney General’s Office and the regime.”

The journalist was arrested at his dwelling Friday by brokers and police armed with assault rifles. Authorities additionally raided the printing presses for El Periodico.

Press freedom teams have complained concerning the arrest of the award-winning Zamora. Critics of President Alejandro Giammattei’s administration say his arrest is an try to silence a outstanding critic whose newspaper was recognized for investigations uncovering corruption and a strong message to different voices of dissent in Guatemala.

The U.S. authorities has sanctioned Guatemala’s lawyer normal in addition to Curruchiche, who Porras put answerable for corruption investigations, for allegedly being concerned in corruption themselves.

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