The Guatemalan prosecutor’s office has asked for 40 years in prison for the owner of a newspaper critical of the government

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The Guatemalan prosecutor’s office asked this Tuesday to impose aa sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment a newspaper proprietor critical of the government, in a controversial money laundering trial denounced by press unions.

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Prosecutor Cinthia Monterroso requested it in the process that began 28 days ago against José Rubén Zamora, owner of the now extinct newspaper El Periódico and jailed for 10 months, in a case that spawned allegations of attacks on freedom of expression.

Monterroso has asked for 20 years in prison for Zamora to money laundry, another eight years for blackmail and 12 for influence trafficking. All penalties are the maximum provided by local law.

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The prosecutor argued that Zamora tried to launder the equivalent of about $37,500 in “illegal proceeds” and “the product of blackmail and extortion” by businessmen.

Jose Ruben Zamora, Guatemala.  AP Photo

Jose Ruben Zamora, Guatemala. AP Photo

“without sustenance”

“I have studied the allegations and they are all baseless”Zamora told reporters in a break from the hearing.

He added that the request makes him “laugh” and that if he is convicted He will fight his case before the Inter-American Tribunal.

The president of the court, Oly González, must define the date on which the sentence will be announced.

Zamora, 66 years old, He was arrested at the end of July last year accused of a money laundering scheme.

The prosecution supports it the money came from “extortion” of businessmen do not post information against you. Zamora claims the seized money came mainly from the sale of an artwork to finance his medium, which was waging a financial crisis made worse by his arrest.

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei.  Reuters photo

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei. Reuters photo

Journalist accuses the president Alejandro Giammattei and US-sanctioned Attorney General Consuelo Porras for fabricating the case to silence him over publications of government corruption.

After denouncing “criminal persecution and economic pressure”, the newspaper, founded by Zamora in 1996, definitively closed on May 15th. By December it had already stopped circulating on paper and only the digital edition was kept.

against the president

Eight journalists and columnists from the paper are also under investigation in another trial that brought Zamora to justice, where he is accused of trying to obstruct a money laundering investigation against him.

Some communicators, including the director of the outlet, Julia Corado, they opted for exile.

“The Public Prosecutor is asking for 40 years in prison against the journalist José Rubén Zamora; while the corrupt rule at ease”criticized political analyst and anti-corruption activist Manfredo Marroquín on Twitter.

The capture of Zamora occurred during the arrests of several former prosecutors who investigated known corruption cases. All of them have been accused of alleged abuses of authority.

Most recently was the arrest on Friday of former Guatemalan anti-corruption prosecutor Stuardo Campo, who regretted being arrested over a “false” complaint of “abuse of authority and breach of duty”.

Campo pointed against the Fundación Contra el Terrorismo, a right-wing entity “which has systematically dedicated itself to the persecution of justice workers” and is a civil party in several cases, including the trial against Zamora.

Source: Clarin

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