PBI-Guatemala accompanies Maya Kaqchikel journalist Norma Sancir at hearing, next court date is June 7

Published by Brent Patterson on

On May 12, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted on their Facebook page: “PBI accompanied journalist Norma Sancir at the mid-phase hearing in Chiquimula’s first instance court. This one has been suspended because an appeal against Judge Juan José Regalado is in the process, brought by the plaintiff.”

That same day, Prensa Comunitaria reported:

“The court of First Instance Criminal, Drug Trafficking and Crimes against the Environment on duty in Chiquimula, suspended the intermediate stage hearing of the journalist Norma Sancir, against three agents and a former commissioner of the National Civil Police (PNC), for the crime of abuse of authority.”

“The judge on duty Juan José Regalado Rivas recused himself this Wednesday from continuing to learn about the process, because he was challenged by the defense of the journalist Sancir in 2019. The hearing was scheduled for June 7, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. in the same court.”

“The journalist Norma Sancir and the legal team will have to wait until that date to find out if they send agents Olga Leticia Segura, Marcelina López Pérez, Mirna Marleny Ortiz and former commissioner Ceferino Salquin to trial for oral and public debate, accused of abuse of authority and illegal detention against the communicator, on September 18, 2014.”

“[Sancir was detained] while covering a mobilization of the Ch’orti ‘people, in Camotán, Chiquimula, which ended in a violent eviction by security agents. Four days later, on September 22, she was released, since the agents had no arguments or evidence to prove that Sancir had committed a crime in that demonstration.”

Norma Sancir

Frontline Defenders has explained: “Norma Sancir is a journalist, social communicator and human rights defender of the Ch’orti ’people in Chiquimula, Guatemala.”

“She works as a communicator in the Central Campesina Chortí Nuevo Día (Nuevo Día Ch’orti’ Indigenous Association, CCCND), and is also a correspondent of Prensa Comunitaria. The Central Campesina Chortí Nuevo Día works alongside indigenous Ch’orti’ communities in the region of Chiquimula, Guatemala.”

“They provide legal support and visibility to the communities of Jocotán, Olopa and Camotán, who face threats and violations to land, environmental, and cultural rights, following to the implementation of hydroelectric and mining projects in their territories.”

PBI-Guatemala has also previously explained: “During 2014, members of CCCND experienced an alarming escalation of threats and attacks against them, reporting 81 security incidents to PBI in just six months.”

“In September 2014, various protesters were injured and two members of CCCND were arrested during a peaceful protest, which was broken up by police using firearms, teargas, sticks and stones. Front Line Defenders stated that ‘the arrest and detention of Norma Lila Sut Sancir and Carlos Alfredo Juárez Díaz forms part of an attempt by the authorities to criminalize human rights defenders’.”

Press freedom

When Sancir visited Quebec in May 2018, she told Radio Canada Internacional: “Freedom of information will exist when they let us tell the truth. We believe that freedom of expression should not be exclusive for the benefit of journalists working in the major media or for an editorial line.”

Categories: News Updates


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