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Villagers hold four journalists hostage during blockade

(CERIGUA/IFEX) - Villagers of the El Rosario village in Champerico, Retalhuleu, 131 km from the capital, held four journalists hostage when they arrived to cover a road block taking place in the afternoon of 28 July 2010 to protest poor road conditions.

Telma Gramajo, an official from the local Retalhuleu branch of the Human Rights Attorney's Office (Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos, PDH), identified the journalists as Francisco Revolorio of "Nuestro Diario"; Hugo Torres of TV Cable; Ángel Revolorio of "Prensa Libre" and Mario Cumín of Telediario and the newspaper "Hoy".

The journalists were taken hostage because protestors did not want them to publicize information that would be damaging to them. At the same time, they also asked that their message be broadcast live, but the journalists did not have satellite equipment to do so.

The reporters were in the hands of the villagers from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., according to police reports submitted to the local PDH. They were freed after speaking with protest leaders and assuring them that they did not take any unfavourable photographs of the protest.

Gramajo said that authorities could not get close to El Rosario because of the multiple road blocks the villagers had set up. The journalists also told her that they were concerned for their safety because protestors threatened to beat and lynch them, and held them overnight.

The Human Rights Ombudsman, Sergio Morales, expressed his concern over the apparent criminalization of journalists' work and asked the public to respect journalists' professional activities.


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APPEALS TO:

Ruth del Valle
Comisionada Presidencial de los Derechos Humanos
(Presidential Human Rights Commissioner)
2ª. Avenida 10-50, zona 9
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2334 0119

Sergio Morales Alvarado
Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
(Human Rights Ombudsman)
12 Avenida 12-72, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2424 1717
Correo electrónico: [email protected]

Fiscalía Especial de Delitos contra Periodistas y Sindicalistas
(Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Labour Union Members)
Ministerio Público
7ª. Avenida 11-20 zona 1, segundo nivel
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2220 6873

Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas Sobre Derechos Humanos para Guatemala
(Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala)
13 calle 3-40 zona 10, Edifico Atlantils, oficina 803
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2382 3410
Correo electrónico: [email protected]

Carlos Menocal
Ministro de Gobernación
(Interior Minister)
6ª. Avenida 4-64, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2362 0237 / 2339 4474
Correo electrónico: [email protected]

Director de la Policía Nacional Civil
(Director, National Police)
Dirección General de la Policía Nacional Civil
6ª. Avenida 13-71 zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2238 1474

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