US Raises Concerns for Journalists and Corruption Fighters in Guatemala

GUATEMALA CITY, December 1 (Reuters) – A US State Department official on Wednesday expressed concern over journalists, corruption fighters and activists recently criticized by the government.

Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary of State for Civil Security, Democracy and Human Rights, said she stressed the need for transparency and accountability during her four-day visit to Guatemala.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has repeatedly stressed the need to tackle corruption in Guatemala and other Central American countries as part of an effort to stem record levels of migration from the region.

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“The recent developments in Guatemala regarding threats and spurious lawsuits against journalists, human rights defenders and anti-corruption champions are worrying,” Zeya said in a statement from the US Embassy. United in Guatemala Wednesday evening.

In July, Guatemala’s attorney general dismissed an internationally renowned anti-corruption prosecutor from his post as head of the anti-corruption unit. He then fled the country.

Guatemalan officials said on Tuesday they sought to indict former prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval with fraud, conspiracy and abuse of power.

In addition, two well-known journalists who vigorously criticize the government recently said they had been the target of criminal investigations, and police last month arrested three activists accused of painting the walls of Congress during a event in 2020.

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Reporting by Sofia Menchu. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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