Organisation August 21, 2020 Find out more GuatemalaAmericas RSF_en News Follow the news on Guatemala to go further News February 16, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Ex-paramilitary and former mayor convicted of kidnapping four journalists in 2003 The government announced the formation of a high-level commission with the task of obtaining the release of the journalists. It consists of Alfonso Fuentes of the presidential human rights commission, Catalina Soberanis, secretary of state for peace, and Huehuetenango province governor Carlos Morales.About 100 journalists demonstrated outside the congress and the presidential palace yesterday to protest against their colleagues’ abduction. Meanwhile it was learned that Henry Hernández and Thelma Shaw, the two employees of the ombudsman’s office who were kidnapped along with the journalists, were able to escape during the night of 26 October because they were not tied up like the other hostages. Hernández said one of the journalists, Fredy López, was hit by the kidnappers during the first few hours of their abduction. Prensa Libre has reported that a fifth person, a civilian, has also been taken hostage.___________________________28.10.2003 – Ex-paramilitaries free four kidnapped journalistsFredy López, Alberto Ramírez, Emerson Díaz and Mario Linares of the daily Prensa Libre were released on 28 October by the former members of the paramilitary Civilian Self-Defence Patrols (PAC) who took them hostage two days earlier. “We were very scared, especially then the commission did not arrive, because they said they were going to burn us,” said Díaz. “They were angry, but they did not treat us badly,” Linares said.The governmental commission that was set up to negotiate their release said the kidnappers’ demands would be met. They had demanded payment of government compensation for their support for the army’s operations against guerrillas during the 1980s. PAC leaders said they would take similar action again if the government did not keep its promise.———————————————–27.10.2003 – Call for immediate release of four journalists abducted by former paramilitariesReporters Without Borders today voiced deep concern about the abduction yesterday of four journalists working for the daily Prensa Libre and two representatives of the human rights ombudsman, and called for their immediate release. Reporters Fredy López and Alberto Ramírez and photographers Emerson Díaz (left on the photo) and Mario Linares (right on the photo) were taken hostage in the western province of Huehuetenango by former paramilitaries who are pressing for compensation from the government for the support they gave the army during the 1960-1996 civil war. Linares also freelances for the news agency Reuters.”Treating these journalists as bargaining chips in political negotiations is unacceptable and will only discredit the kidnappers’ cause,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It also further weakens press freedom by making the job of a journalist even more dangerous.”In a letter to President Alfonso Portillo Cabrera, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard urged him to take no measures that could put the lives of the four journalists in danger, and to do everything possible to ensure they were freed as soon as possible.”Press freedom had once again fallen victim to tensions resulting from the campaign for the 9 November presidential elections,” Ménard said. Attacks and threats against the press have increased, totalling some 60 cases so far this year. Most have been attributed to supporters of Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, the presidential candidate of the ruling Guatemalan Republic Front (FRG). One journalist has died.Guatemala was placed 99th out of 166 countries in a worldwide ranking of countries according to respect for press freedom, which Reporters Without Borders issued on 20 October. Only three countries had worse rankings in the western hemisphere: Haiti (100th), Colombia (147th) and Cuba (165th).Prensa Libre managing editor Gonzalo Marroquín told AFP that López and Diaz were the first to be kidnapped yesterday. After learning of their abduction, the newspaper sent the other two journalists together with the two representatives of the ombudsman’s office by helicopter, but they were kidnapped as well. “We are very concerned for their safety,” Marroquín said.According to Prensa Libre, the former paramilitaries will not release the journalists until they have been paid promised compensation. The police said the abductors took their six hostages to La Libertad last night.López and Ramírez had gone to Huehuetenango province to cover Gen. Ríos Montt’s campaign. They were abducted at a roadblock set up by some 500 former members of the Civilian Self-Defence Patrols on the road to La Libertad, which Ríos Montt was scheduled to visit. Four hundred members of the security forces went there late yesterday afternoon but the ensuring negotiations were unsuccessful.President Portillo promised to pay 680 dollars each to a total of 500,000 former paramilitaries who were recruited by the army in the 1980s in its fight against leftist guerrillas with the result that numerous civilians were killed. The proposed payment has been criticised by the international community and human rights organisations, which deplore that fact that it is those responsible for many deaths who are the first to be compensated, and not their victims. The FRG is also suspected of hoping to shore up its electoral support by means of the payment.According to Marco Córtez, an investigating judge in charge of crimes against journalists and trade unionists, there have been more than 60 cases of threats against news media personnel in 2003. Hector Ramírez, a journalist with Radio Sonora and the TV news programme “Notisiete,” died of a heart attack while being chased through the streets of the capital by Ríos Montt supporters on 24 July. They were protesting against a law banning Ríos Montt from standing as a candidate. Several journalists were attacked on that day and the following one. News GuatemalaAmericas A former member of the paramilitary Civilian Self-Defence Patrols (PAC) has been sentenced by a court in Huehuetenango to six years in prison for kidnapping four journalists, while former mayor Mirta de Jesús López has received a two-year term. Both have been released on bail. Their victims were Prensa Libre staffers Fredy López, Alberto Ramírez, Emerson Días and Mario Linares, who were captured a group of former PAC members on 26 October 2003 and freed two days later.___________________________28.10.2003 – Four kidnapped journalist said to be “all right”Prensa Libre managing editor Gonzalo Marroquín, who went to Huehuetenango province yesterday with human rights ombudsman Sergio Morales, told Agence France-Presse: “Journalists of ours established contact with their kidnapped colleagues, and they are all right.” He said their kidnappers were awaiting the arrival of a government commission and it was hoped they would be released today. Guatemala. Don’t put the Guatemalan press in quarantine! 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Related Articles StumbleUpon Submit Raketech appoints ‘proven pro’ Klas Winberg as new CMO November 26, 2019 Share Oskar Mühlbach chosen as Raketech CEO December 12, 2019 Raketech set to intensify company growth with new appointments October 1, 2019 Share Michael Holmberg – RakeTech GroupMalta-based Industry affiliate network RakeTech Group (RakeTech) has confirmed that it has executed a double of acquisition of Agonas AB and Astro Media Group AB (Astro Media) continuing the expansion of its Scandinavian marketing portfolio.The confirmed acquisitions continue RakeTech’s M&A growth strategy, adding Agonas AB a ‘real-time’ Scandinavian TV listings and sports content portals to its network, while Astro Media services a number of high coverage Swedish casino affiliate websites.Through its acquisition of Agonas AB, RakeTech will gain the digital assets of TVSporten.dk and TVKampden.com, supported by Swedish sports portal TVMatchen.nu. RakeTech details that its network will gain from a further 2.5 million monthly viewers with Agonas AB generating betting tips and sports content for Raketech services.Astro Media will further strengthen RakeTech’s Swedish casino affiliate portfolio by gaining the high coverage websites of Casinointernet.se, Nya-Casino.se, KasinosOnline.se and Svenska-Casino.se, plus a network of over 100 additional websites“Our strategy is to diversify our business, and Agonas provides us with a new vehicle to create unique editorial content. Their experienced team will help develop RakeTech into an established provider of sports media content,” commented Michael Holmberg, RakeTech Group CEO to the media“Astro Media have a proven model for developing quality online traffic and generating affiliate leads in large quantities. The acquisition will further strengthen our commanding position in Sweden.”The acquisitions, which remain undisclosed have been executed through RakeTech’s €70 million strategic purposes M&A fund secured at the start of 2017. RakeTech governance completes a busy H1 opening to 2017, in which the company acquired the assets of BetExpert and Turtle Gaming, as the company continues to grow its industry profile.
Florida officials announced plans this week to design and build a bridge to replace one that collapsed and killed six people in Miami more than two years ago.The Department of Transportation said in a statement that it plans to manage and oversee all aspects of the new project, and to the recommendations of federal officials.A National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded last November that design flaws, as well as a lack of oversight, led to the collapse of the bridge at Florida International University in March of 2018.The design phase will begin next year, and the replacement bridge is expected to be built by 2023.“FDOT has learned valuable lessons since the tragic events surrounding the FIU bridge collapse two years ago. The Department has worked closely with the NTSB and local partners to ensure proactive safety measures are included in the plans for this much-needed bridge,” transportation secretary Kevin J. Thibault said in a statement. “The Department will ensure all safety measures are in place and are followed so we may provide a safe option for pedestrians in this high-traffic area.” The original $14.2 million pedestrian bridge was supposed to open early last year to provide a safe way for students to cross a busy street. However, the structure collapsed on to traffic that was stopped at a red light on March 15, 2018.One of the bridge’s workers died in the collapse, as did five people who were waiting in their cars at the light.The NTSB determined there were “failures at all levels” by the construction firm the university hired, in addition to failed oversight by FDOT.This time around, FDOT says it will coordinate with FIU regarding the bridge’s aesthetics.Local and state officials initially began planning the bridge after a student was struck and killed while crossing the road at SW 109 Avenue in June of 2017.