Guatemalan journalist critical of president arrested

Guatemalan law enforcement on Friday arrested journalist Jose Ruben Zamora, founder of El Periodico, a newspaper which has accused the Central American country’s president and attorney general of corruption.

Zamora was arrested at his home in the south of Guatemala City on charges of “possible money laundering,” Juan Luis Pantaleon, a spokesman for the Public Prosecutor’s Office, told AFP.

“It is not for his journalistic work, but as a businessman,” Pantaleon said.

Law enforcement also raided the headquarters of El Periodico.

The newspaper’s staff denounced the police actions as retaliation for its previous reporting on President Alejandro Giammattei, as well as Attorney General Consuelo Porras, whom the United States designated earlier this year for “significant corruption.”

“The Attorney General is following through on her threats against the president of El Periodico. They will not silence us,” the newspaper said in social media posts.

In June, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights added Guatemala to its list of countries where it observes serious human rights violations, a charge Giammattei rejects. Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are also on the list.

The public prosecutor’s office, under the leadership of Porras, has been criticized for arresting and prosecuting several anti-mafia judges and prosecutors.