lawyer accepts charges for fear of not getting a fair trial

lawyer accepts charges for fear of not getting a fair trial

2023-06-02 22:26:02

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The lawyer and former defender of Guatemalan journalist José Rubén Zamora, tried for money laundering, announced Friday that he will accept the charges brought against him by the Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly hindering the investigation against the communicator.

However, Juan Francisco Solorzano Foppa said that he is innocent and that he will accept the accusation because he knows that he will not get justice. “Many of my constitutional and procedural rights are being systematically violated, I am not going to have a fair trial, that is why I am going to accept the charges,” said the lawyer and opponent of the government of President Alejandro Giammattei.

Solorzano Foppa maintains that Judge Fredy Orellana denounced him, ordered his arrest and intends to carry out his trial and “cannot be a judge and a party in the process”, for which he asked to be removed from the case. But an appeals chamber rejected the request.

“This justice system is honestly rotten, from the Public Ministry to the judges, even the police themselves,” said the lawyer.

Immediately after his message, Ricardo Méndez Ruíz, president of the Foundation against Terrorism – a radical right-wing organization that defends those accused of corruption and crimes against humanity – published on social networks that “he will be waiting to return him to jail.” .

During the Giammattei government, more than 35 officials of the Judiciary, including judges, prosecutors, magistrates, and lawyers, have gone into exile denouncing persecution after having contributed to anti-corruption investigations and crimes against humanity. Countries like the United States and human rights organizations have expressed their concern about the deterioration of the rule of law in Guatemala.

Foppa tried to run as a candidate for municipal mayor of Guatemala City, but his registration was rejected due to the criminal proceedings against him.

Zamora, 66, is a renowned journalist and former president of El Periódico, a media outlet critical of Giammattei and specialized in corruption issues that closed its doors on May 15 due to political and financial pressure. He was arrested in July 2022 after a complaint by Ronald Navarijo, a former banker accused of corruption, who told the prosecution that Zamora had asked him to bank cash.

Zamora’s defense maintains that the journalist sought support from Navarijo not to use his own account since the money would be used for payments by the media outlet and he did not want to expose the donor.

On June 14 it will be known if the court sentences Zamora. The prosecution has requested 40 years in prison for the crimes of money laundering, extortion and influence peddling.

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