World stories

Judge orders Guatemalan newspaper chief to stand trial


Comment

GUATEMALA CITY — The director of a Guatemalan investigative newspaper will stand trial on charges of money laundering, influence peddling and blackmail, a judge ruled Thursday.

José Rubén Zamora of El Periodico has been held for four months amid criticism that his arrest was politically motivated by an administration interested in silencing critical journalists.

Prosecutors accuse Zamora of asking a friend to deposit a $38,000 donation to hide the source of the funds. Zamora has said the money from a donor who wished to remain anonymous was to keep the newspaper running during a financial crisis after the government pulled its advertising.

Zamora’s family members have said various business people had been harassed and pressured to stop buying advertising in the newspaper. El Periodico gained a reputation for hard-hitting investigations into government corruption, including the administration of President Alejandro Giammattei.

El Periodico was forced to stop publishing a printed edition Nov. 30 due to its financial difficulties.

Before Thursday’s hearing, El Periodico’s financial director, Flora Silva, pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to six years in prison with three years commuted for admitting wrongdoing.

During a recess, Zamora told reporters, “My best scenario is to get out (of prison) Jan. 14, 2024, when Giammattei leaves the presidency. I have patience and the truth on my side.”

The United States and international human rights groups have been critical of the deterioration of judicial independence in Guatemala. More than 30 judges, prosecutors and other members of the legal system have fled into exile to avoid prosecutions.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Related Articles

World stories

South Sudan police say 5 killed in confrontation near bank

JUBA, South Sudan — Police say at least five people were killed...

World stories

US announces return of Iraqi artifacts taken from museum during 2003 invasion

Hunting down ISIS in Iraq Fighters from Ansar-al-Marjiiya Brigade, a Public Mobilization...

World stories

Tennessee men, including suspected Jan. 6 rioter, charged with plotting attack on FBI Knoxville office

A suspected Capitol rioter facing charges for his alleged role in the...

World stories

Joe Kennedy III expected to be named as special envoy to Northern Ireland | CNN Politics

CNN  —  President Joe Biden is expected to name former congressman Joe...