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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Journalists who denounced human rights abuses in Guatemalan civil war accused of participating in kidnapping, torture




Three Guatemalan journalists and a photographer are among 52 persons accused of participating in the kidnapping, torture, and killing of diplomats during this Central American country's civil war that lasted from 1960 to 1996, according to Guatemala's Center for Informative Reports (Cerigua in Spanish). The journalists say the accusations are an attempt to intimidate them.

The three accused journalists are Marielos Monzón, an award-winning journalist for the newspaper Prensa Libre; Miguel Ángel Albizures, a columnist for elPeriódico and president of the Guatemala Journalists Association; and Iduvina Hernández, of the online newspaper Plaza Pública. Also accused is the U.S. photographer Jean Marie-Simon, who recently published a book of images from the Guatemalan civil war.

According to the complaint filed by the coffee businessman Theodore Plocharski, the accused were aware of the kidnappings and killings of U.S. ambassador John Gordon Mein; U.S. military attaches Harold Houser and Ernest Munro; and German ambassador Karl Von Spreti, reported elPeriódico.

Organizations like the Guatemala Association of Journalists and the media outlets of the accused called the complaint a form of intimidation against the journalists and slander, adding that the journalists Monzón and Hernández were minors at the time of the events of which they are accused, according to Siglo 21.

The journalists have published about the human rights abuses committed during the armed conflict. Also, Albizures said he had been threatened and pressured for publishing articles about historical memory and justice, reported Cerigua.



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