PBI-Guatemala accompanies Maya Kaqchikel community journalist Noma Sancir at hearing on illegal detention by police

Published by Brent Patterson on

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PBI-Guatemala has posted:

“#PBI accompanies community journalist Maya Kaqchikel Norma Sancir in the closing hearing of findings of the oral and public debate and resolution reading.

The judge of the Chiquimula Criminal Sentence Court sentenced a commissioner and two policemen to 3 years and 9 months in prison switchable to a commissar and two policemen for the illegal detention of journalist Norma Sancir in 2014.

This resolution leaves a precedent to pay more attention to the policies for protecting journalists.”

Prensa Comunitaria also explains:

“Norma Sancir is a Mayan Kaqchikel journalist, who was illegally detained by agents of the National Civil Police (PNC) on September 18, 2014, while covering an eviction of demonstrators in the Mayan Ch’orti’ region, in the municipality of Camotán, in the department of Chiquimula, on the Jupilingo bridge, on the border with Honduras.”

Plaza Publica photo.

And EFE reports:

“A criminal judge in Guatemala on Wednesday [January 31] found three members of the National Civil Police (PNC) guilty of the illegal detention of journalist Norma Sancir in 2014.

Sentencing judge Jorge Ochoa, from the department of Chiquimula, 250 kilometers from Guatemala City, convicted the three police officers of abuse of authority and sentenced them to three years and nine months in prison, which could be commuted.

Sancir, a 43-year-old journalist with a decade-long career, was detained for four days on September 18, 2014, while documenting the eviction of an indigenous community in the border area between Guatemala and Honduras.

The police officers found guilty in connection with the arrest are former police commissioner Ceferino Salquín and officers Marcelina López and Olga Segura.”

After the ruling, Sancir stated: “[The sentence] is evidence that we all have the right to freedom of expression and that no public official can violate it. …I am satisfied with the sentence. It has been nine years of seeking justice and today those of us who do journalism have won. …Freedom of expression won, justice was done, and the work of community journalists has been recognized.”

CALDH photo: Norma Sancir says: “Telling the truth is a right that must be protected and respected.”

According to the Association of Journalists of Guatemala, there were more than 300 attacks and crimes against journalists from 2020 to 2023. Prensa Comunitaria adds that there have been 270 actions (intimidation, persecution, criminalization, restriction of coverage) against the exercise of journalism from January to November 2023.

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