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Two journalists assaulted during political event in Quiché

(CERIGUA/IFEX) - Journalists Jorge Toledo and Norman Rodas, from Canal 2 in Santa Cruz del Quiché, the capital of the Quiché department located 164 km west of the capital, were assaulted by two members of the Partido Patriota (PP) communications team after a press conference at the party's headquarters.

According to Toledo, the incident took place after Edgar Girón Chopén, one of the PP communications people, was covering a closed meeting between the party's leader, Otto Pérez Molina, the secretary general, Roxana Baldetti, and local leaders, on 15 January 2011.

After the meeting, Girón went outside the building where a number of journalists were waiting to report on the press conference. When Girón was denied a preferential place among the journalists, he was irritated.

Rodas told CERIGUA that after the press conference, Girón hit Toledo with his tripod. Ericka Marroquín, another PP member, struck Rodas in the head with a camera, which resulted in an injury that required eight stitches at the hospital.

Rodas condemned this type of action and asked authorities not to let them go unpunished. He said he sees this year as being a difficult one for journalists, because of the upcoming general elections.

Pérez, who was a presidential candidate in 2007, spoke with Toledo and Rodas and said that he did not know the people who attacked them and that they were not part of his team, despite the fact that Girón told TV media that he was with the party's press team.

Charges were brought against Girón for bodily harm, and he is being held under house arrest.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Call on authorities to guarantee the safety of journalists and ensure respect for freedom of expression, especially during the 2011 elections.


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 Attorney General)
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
Ministerio Público
(Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Labour Union Members)
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
Email: [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
Email: [email protected]

Jaime Leonel Otzin Diaz
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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