Friday, April 3, 2009



Eight people have been charged with criticising on the Internet Malaysia's Sultan of Perak, as the authorities stepped up a crackdown on bloggers, reports IFEX interim member the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) as well as Amnesty International.

On 13 March, the government carried out a nationwide swoop on bloggers and charged six for "insulting" the Perak royal family on various blogs on the Internet.

The following week, businessman Fuad Ariff Abdul Rashid and his lawyer wife, Fatimah Maisurah Abdullah, were charged with two counts of posting critical comments against the Sultan on the ruler's official website, reports Amnesty International.

"(We) are worried that the charges may signal the start of a clampdown on online expression and an erosion of the right to discuss the role of the Malaysian royalty," said CIJ and Malaysia's Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI).

The offences carry a maximum fine of 50,000 Ringgits (US$13,800) or up to a year in jail under the country's Communication and Media Act. But provisions of the act itself guarantee that it should not be used to censor the Internet, says CIJ. This is the first time the law has been used to charge people for comments posted online.

Of the eight people charged, one has already pleaded guilty and been fined 10,000 Ringgits (US$2,800). The seven others are awaiting trial after being released on bail.

The charges against the eight come during an ongoing power struggle for the Perak state government. In a controversial move, the Sultan of Perak accepted the defection of three state assembly members from the opposition, which allowed the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to regain control - despite having lost the state in the 2008 general election.

BN, which rules nationally, has been accused of trying to shut down debate about the role of the monarchy.

"The Internet was one of the few venues available for Malaysians to express their views relatively freely, and now it looks like the government will extend its restrictions on free press to the web," said Amnesty. "For a country that claims to be on the cutting edge of communications technology, this is a very troubling step backward."

As the head of the federation and a Malay institution, the royalty is largely a taboo subject in Malaysia. Like Thailand's lese-majeste law, the Sedition Act, which was introduced in a period of high ethnic tension, protects royals in Malaysia against defamation under its very broad provision.

Opposition parliamentarian and lawyer Karpal Singh has been charged with sedition for his threat to sue the Sultan of Perak over the political crisis in Perak, say CIJ and Amnesty.

He has received death threats, and been mobbed by angry youth members of UMNO (United Malays National Organisation), leader of the ruling coalition. But according to Amnesty, Malaysia's 13,000-strong Bar Council has defended Singh's right to voice his opinion.

Visit these links:
- CIJ:
- Amnesty:
- IFEX Malaysia page:



Tierra y Libertad is a community radio station in the northeast of Mexico that has for more than seven years provided the poorest neighbourhoods in Monterrey with info on workers' rights, health and legal assistance. But perhaps not for much longer, because the government says the station is operating without a licence. Employees are facing up to 12 years in prison and a fine of US$100,000 for operating illegally. ARTICLE 19 - Mexico, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) and Reporters
Without Borders (RSF) say it is an alarming case of the "criminalisation of free expression."

AMARC and ARTICLE 19 report that Tierra y Libertad had applied for a permit from the communications ministry back in November 2002, and have yet to receive a response. In June 2008, a contingent of more than 100 federal police officers surrounded the station and forced it to close.

In a joint statement, AMARC, ARTICLE 19 and RSF, as well as a handful of Mexican rights organisations, said, "The use of criminal action in place of administrative action, which is set out in the federal radio and television laws, shows a hardening and the start of a more repressive and persecutory policy against community radio stations in the country and is a serious step backwards for human rights."

The members have pointed out the real problems: that the authorities have "excessive discretion" in handling licence applications, and that the federal government refuses to recognise community radio broadcasting, even though it promised the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that it would create the conditions for community roadcasters to survive and thrive.

AMARC has penned 14 principles for democratic legislation on community broadcasting, which came out of an investigation on best practices in 26 countries. Read it here:

For the English summary of the joint statement, see: and the full text (Spanish
only), see:



Six years after Cuba's notorious "Primavera Negra" ("Black Spring") crackdown on journalists and other accused dissenters, the country continues to trample on free expression. Cuba jails more journalists than any other country but China.

In the "Black Spring" crackdown six years ago this week, 75 dissidents, including 29 journalists, were convicted on treason charges and sentenced to a collective 1,500 years in jail during trials that didn't even last a whole day. Many had their appeals dismissed.

Amnesty International declared them prisoners of conscience, and the EU responded by imposing sanctions on Cuba, including a ban on high-ranking official visits by Cuban authorities to EU countries. The ban was suspended last year provided that Cuba
improves its human rights record, which will be reviewed annually starting in June.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Press Institute (IPI), the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of InternationalPEN and other IFEX members are urging President Raul Castro to free the more than 20 journalists who remain behind bars.

"Raul Castro has had a year to make a break with the past and free journalists and others who were jailed on outlandish charges," IPI said. "President Castro's recent cabinet shuffle and his diplomatic overtures may show promise, but his government will remain an international pariah until he takes concrete steps to free journalists and other prisoners of conscience."

Among those imprisoned is Omar Rodríguez Saludes, who was arrested on 18 March 2003 and sentenced to 27 years in prison for "acting against the independence or territorial integrity of the state," says IPI. He received the longest sentence of all the journalists charged in the crackdown.

Another journalist, Ricardo González Alfonso, is a correspondent for Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He was sentenced to jail for 20 years for being a "mercenary" funded by the U.S. and is seeking early release for medical reasons.

As President since February 2008, Raul Castro has taken some steps to improve free expression, say the IFEX members, such as allowing Cubans to buy mobile phones and their own computer equipment. But the Cuban government continues to own and control all media outlets, and journalists are constantly harassed and jailed.

Since October 2008, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has recorded 85 violations against journalists, including fines, layoffs, confiscation of money and work materials, detentions, deportations to the province of origin, phone wiretaps, interceptions of correspondence and
Internet blackouts.

According to CPJ, to date, no international humanitarian organisations have visited any of the imprisoned Cuban journalists. Nor has the Cuban government ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides "the right to freedom of expression," or the
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, both signed in February 2008.

To mark the sixth anniversary of Cuba's Black Spring and World Poetry Day (21 March), WiPC produced a postcard calling on the Cuban authorities to release the dissidents. It features lines from a poem by former imprisoned writer Ángel Cuadra, now president of the Cuban Writers in Exile PEN Centre.

You are invited to print copies of the postcard and to sign and send as many as possible throughout 2009. The postcard, available in Spanish and English, can be downloaded here:

Visit these links:
- CPJ:
- IPI:
- IPI's Justice Denied Campaign:
- RSF:
- WiPC's case list of jailed writers in Cuba:



More than 180 rights organisations worldwide, including 27 IFEX members, have banded together to oppose a "defamation of religions" campaign at the UN mounted by Islamic states that would make criticising religion a crime in UN resolutions, declarations and world conferences.

Most recently, Pakistan, on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), tabled a resolution on "combating defamation of religions" at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council. Although the text refers frequently to protecting all religions, the only religion specified as being attacked is Islam. The resolution is to be put to a vote on the last day of the session, 27 March.

OIC, an intergovernmental organisation comprising 57 states with majority or significant Muslim populations, has stepped up its fight for the concept of religious defamation to be added to UN resolutions since the 11 September attacks. Pressure to protect religions from defamation has been growing, especially since the Danish cartoons controversy in 2005.

IFEX members, such as ARTICLE 19, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Freedom House and the World Association of Newspapers, have campaigned extensively against the growing trend of using religious anti-defamation laws to limit free speech.

They argue that religious believers have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of their beliefs and are protected as such in international law. But they cannot expect their religion to be free from criticism. "The resolution seeks to protect the belief, rather than the believers," said ARTICLE 19.

Plus, the 186 signatories say, the resolutions "may be used in certain countries to silence and intimidate human rights activists, religious dissenters, and other independent voices," as well as to legitimise archaic anti-blasphemy laws, which surprisingly, are still on the books of many EU
member states.

ARTICLE 19 also points out that there is no agreed definition of the concept of "defamation of religions", and that it has no basis in international law because religions, unlike individuals, cannot be said to have a reputation and therefore cannot be defamed.

The signatories expressed fear that the defamation of religions concept will be resurrected in other venues, including the follow-up world conference against racism, dubbed Durban II, to be held in Geneva in April. According to ARTICLE 19, the U.S. has cited the introduction of a clause
prohibiting defamation of religions in the Durban review document to justify its non-participation in the conference.

The 186 groups are calling upon all governments to oppose the resolution at the Human Rights Council this week, as well as any outcomes at the Durban review conference that directly or indirectly supports the defamation of religions campaign "at the expense of basic freedoms and individual human rights."

Visit these links:
- Joint statement of 186 groups:
- UN Watch, including text of briefing:

Burma: UN Opines Detention of Aung San Suu Kyi Illegal

24 March 2009

Burma: UN Opines Detention of Aung San Suu Kyi Illegal

ARTICLE 19 today welcomes the opinion of the expert body of the UN announcing the irrefutable illegality of imprisoning democratically-elected Aung San Suu Kyi, and calling on the Burmese military regime to release her.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has issued an opinion that the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi is illegal under international law. Crucially the WGAD has also rejected the regime’s domestic justification by stating that the detention is even illegal under Burma’s own repressive legislation.

Let the words of the decision be spread loud and clear, particularly in China, India and within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)” said Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. “It is more than time that they end their protection of the Burmese authorities' illegal practices."

Aung San Suu Kyi was elected prime minister in 1990 but was arrested immediately by the military for representing a threat to the “security of the State or public peace and tranquillity”. She has spent 13 of the past 19 years living in detention without access to the outside world.

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.


• For more information: please contact Oliver Spencer, +44 20 7278 9292

Adoption of Resolution on Combating Defamation of Religions

27 March 2008

Human Rights Council: ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS Condemn Adoption of Resolution on Combating Defamation of Religions

ARTICLE 19 and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) condemn the adoption of a resolution on “combating defamation of religions” by the 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday 26 March.

The resolution is the latest in a series on the subject of “defamation of religions”. The first was adopted in 1999 by the UN Commission on Human Rights. ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS are extremely concerned that the cumulative effect of these resolutions serves to undermine established international human rights guarantees on the right to freedom of expression but also on the rights to freedom of religion and to equality.

This is a blow for freedom of expression,” says Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. “It is shameful and disappointing. Unfortunately, it is also unsurprising given the way this issue has unfolded in the UN over the last decade.

’Defamation of religions’ is a blunt instrument which betrays human rights principles and values, and the international human rights community needs both stamina and refined strategies in order to ensure that human rights, especially freedom of expression, freedom of religion and equality, are not eroded,” continues Dr Callamard.

ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS are concerned that, although this most recent resolution makes a number of modifications to previously adopted resolutions on religious defamation, it does not address the inherent problems associated with them. The concept of “defamation of religions” is inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression, and the resolution will be ineffective in promoting equality. Instead, it is likely that states may abuse the concept of religious defamation in order to stifle criticism of religions and religious institutions.

According to Moataz El Fegiery, Executive Director of CIHRS, “’Defamation of religion’ is a concept commonly used by authoritarian and repressive governments throughout the world to violate civil liberties and discriminate against minorities. It has no place in the work of the Human Rights Council.

References made in the draft resolution to recent initiatives of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and established international law on freedom of expression which attempt to place the concept of defamation within the legal paradigm of international human rights is highly misleading.


• To view ARTICLE 19’s Statement, which analyses an earlier draft of the resolution that was eventually adopted see:
• The results of the vote on the resolution were as follows: In favour (23): Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and South Africa. Against (11): Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and United Kingdom. Abstentions (13):Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ghana, India, Japan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Uruguay, and Zambia.
• For more information, please contact Dr Sejal Parmar, ARTICLE 19 Senior Legal Officer tel: +44-207-278 9292; email: or Jeremie Smith, Director of the Geneva Office of the CIHRS
• CIHRS is an independent, regional NGO based in Cairo, Egypt, with offices in Paris and Geneva. CIHRS attempts to analyze and address the legal and cultural challenges to implementing universal human rights standards throughout the Arab region.

Human Rights Council: ARTICLE 19 Calls on HRC Members to Vote Against Proposed Resolution on "Defamation of Religions"

Amendment of Proposed Resolution on Freedom of Expression

17 March 2008

Human Rights Council: ARTICLE 19 Urges Amendment of Proposed Resolution on Freedom of Expression

ARTICLE 19 has expressed its concern about a draft resolution on the right to freedom of opinion and expression which has been circulated by the Group of African States at the tenth session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In a statement released today, ARTICLE 19 has outlined specific concerns about the timing and content of the draft resolution. In the opinion of ARTICLE 19, the draft resolution is premature in its timing because the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Frank la Rue, is not due for consideration until the Council’s June 2009 session. Furthermore, some of the wording of the resolution detracts from its purported objective – the protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

ARTICLE 19 urges Member States to amend the draft resolution in conformity with international human rights law (and specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) before agreeing to its adoption. In particular, ARTICLE 19 urges the Group of African States to postpone the tabling of the draft resolution to the June session of the Human Rights Council. It should follow on from the report from the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and should do so in accordance with established international human rights frameworks which guarantee the right to freedom of expression.

Alternatively, if the Group of African States insists on moving forward with the draft resolution at this tenth session of the Council, ARTICLE 19 urges its sponsors to amend the language of the draft resolution to conform with established international human rights guarantees on the right to freedom of expression.


• To view ARTICLE 19’s statement, go to:
• For more information, please contact Sejal Parmar, ARTICLE 19 Senior Legal Officer tel: +44-207-278 9292; email:

Death of Blogger Omid Reza Mirsayafi

19 March 2009

Iran: an Urgent Investigation into the Death of Blogger Omid Reza Mirsayafi

On 18 March 2009, Omid Reza Mirsayafi, a 29-year-old Iranian blogger died in prison in Tehran after he failed to receive medical assistance. According to Dr Hessam Firouzi, a human rights activist and fellow prisoner, prison officials ignored requests for urgent medical attention for Mirsayafi and made little attempt to save his life.

Mirsayafi was described as a cultural blogger who wrote primarily about traditional Persian music and culture. He was first arrested on 22 April 2008 and released after 41 days on bail of 100 million Tumans (approximately GBP 70,000). He was subsequently tried on 2 November and convicted under Articles 500 and 514 of the criminal code which states that “anyone who insults the Supreme Guide Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or the country’s leaders, is liable for six months to two years in prison” (Article 514) and “anyone making propaganda against the state is liable to three months to one year in prison” (Article 500).

Since his imprisonment Mirsayafi had reportedly become increasingly distressed and unable to cope with harsh prison conditions. Unconfirmed reports coming out of the Evin prison seem to indicate that Mirsayafi’s death may have been caused by an incorrect dose of the prescribed medications he had been taking. Dr Firouzi alleges that prison doctors ignored pleas to give him proper treatment when he was clearly in distress.

Mirsayafi’s sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison was the one of the longest handed down to a blogger in Iran.

“ARTICLE 19 is shocked at the news of Omid Reza Mirsayafi’s death in prison, especially on the eve of Norouz ,” says ARTICLE 19 Executive Director, Dr Agnès Callamard. “We call on the Iranian authorities to launch a thorough and urgent investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.”

Mirsayafi’s treatment is not an isolated case in Iran. Indeed it is another example of the ongoing persecution and repression of dissident voices by Iranian authorities. For example, Hossein Derakhshan, the most prominent blogger imprisoned in Iran, has been incarcerated without trial since November 2008.

Shahnaz Gholami a women rights activist and editor of a blog called A Woman’s Rights are Human Rights was arrested in November 2008 for posting articles deemed to be damaging to national security on her blog. Gholami, who also experienced harsh prison conditions in jail, was released on bail of 200 million Tumans (approximately GBP 140,000) on 17 January 2009 after going on a hunger strike.

ARTICLE 19 calls for an urgent and impartial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Mirsayafi’s death and urges the Iranian authorities to immediately halt its persecution of bloggers, activists and dissenting voices.


• For more information: please contact Khashayar Karimi, ARTICLE 19 Iran Programme Officer at +44 20 7278 9292.

From Ifex News:


An Iranian blogger sent to prison last month for insulting the country's religious leaders and making propaganda against the state has died under questionable circumstances, report ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Omidreza Mirsayafi died in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison on 18 March, just over a month after he was sentenced to more than two years in jail for posting comments on his blog about religious figures, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 revolution.

Prison authorities said Mirsayafi, who suffered from depression, committed suicide by overdosing on sedatives. But his family questions their findings, maintaining he would not have possessed enough medication to kill himself.

According to RSF, Hessam Firoozi, an imprisoned doctor who has treated some of Iran's best-known political activists and witnessed Mirsayafi's treatment, told Mirsafayi's lawyer that Mirsayafi's death could be attributed entirely to the prison's failure to provide medical assistance.

Mirsayafi was awaiting a further trial on charges of insulting "sacred Islamic values". The offences were allegedly committed on his now defunct blog, Rooznegaar, which focused mainly on Persian music and culture, says RSF.

Mirsayafi had consistently denied the charges against him, saying his blogs were not political in nature. He told RSF in a recent email that he would "not have the energy to live in prison."

"We hold the Iranian authorities entirely responsible for the death of Omidreza Mirsayafi. He was unfairly arrested and they failed to provide him with the necessary medical care," RSF said.

According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Amir Hossein Heshmatsaran, founder of an Iranian opposition group called the National Unity Front, also died this month, on 6 March, while serving an eight-year sentence. Heshmatsaran's family alleged that he had died because of negligence, after suffering a stroke.

"Iranian leaders have relegated the administration of the prison system to a group of incompetent and cruel officials who are showing their utter disregard for human life," said Hadi Ghaemi, the campaign's spokesperson. "If the authorities do not move quickly to hold negligent officials responsible, they are reinforcing impunity and the lack of accountability."

has come under scrutiny before for its treatment of political prisoners, especially at Evin Prison. In 2003 Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, died after being detained there for three weeks, reports CPJ. She was arrested for taking pictures outside the prison.

Meanwhile, Iranian-American freelance journalist Roxana Saberi is still being held in Evin, with recent reports saying she may be held for years. She has been detained since late January. Earlier this month, CPJ delivered a petition to the Islamic Republic of Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. With more than 10,000 ignatures, the petition requested the direct intervention of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The International Women's Media Foundation has launched another petition for Saberi - sign it at:

Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan has also been detained since November 2008, but his whereabouts remain unknown. At least five other Iranian journalists were serving time in various Iranian prisons as of 1 December 2008, according to CPJ.

Scrutiny of bloggers is not uncommon in Iran. According to RSF, some 70 bloggers, including many women, have been targeted by Iranian authorities since Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005.

Visit these links:
- CPJ:
- CPJ petition for Saberi:
- RSF:
- International Campaign:

Nepal: Government Adopts Regressive Film Regulation

31 March 2009

Nepal: Government Adopts Regressive Film Regulation

Amendments to Nepal’s Regulation on Film (Production, Exhibition and Distribution) 2057 (2001 AD) were published in the Official Gazette on 2 February 2009. The amendments, proposed by the Ministry of Information and Communication with the advice of the Film Development Board, increase the scope of prior censorship and impose further limitations on the distribution of foreign films and participation by foreigners in the Nepali film industry.

An Agenda for Change, a joint ARTICLE 19, Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and Freedom Forum (FF) publication setting out a comprehensive programme for freedom of expression reform in Nepal, addresses the issue of film regulation. Recommendations 61 and 62 call for the abolishing of all prior censorship of films and the Film Censor Board, and for the transformation of the Film Development Board into an independent body tasked with developing the film industry in Nepal.

ARTICLE 19, FNJ and Freedom Forum strongly condemn these amendments,” said Dharmendra Jha, President of FNJ. “This demonstrates the attitude of government and proves that it is not committed to promoting freedom of expression despite having made a commitment to this on many occasions.

The major problems with the amendments are as follows:

  • The regime of prior censorship – including in relation to licensing, producing, importing and releasing films – are more onerous than before.
  • Only Nepali citizens may own cinemas and the equipment they use.
  • Nepali and foreign films may not be released on the same day in the same cinema.
  • The government has more power over the release and distribution of film.

ARTICLE 19, FNJ and FF call on the Nepalese authorities to abolish these regressive provisions on film regulation and instead to put in place a system for film regulation which respects international and constitutional guarantees for freedom of expression, in accordance with the recommendations in the Agenda for Change.


For more information, please contact Tanka Raj Aryal, ARTICLE 19, Country Representative, Nepal,, +9779851075026, Dharmendra Jha, President, Federation of Nepali Journalists,, +977 98510 71459, or Taranath Dahal, President, Freedom Forum,, +977 98510 87891.

Gladys Monterroso is attacked and abducted

1 April 2009

Guatemala: ARTICLE 19 condemns attack on Gladys Monterroso

On 25 March, Gladys Monterroso, a well-known Guatemalan lawyer, professor and politician, was abducted from a restaurant in Guatemala City by unidentified assailants. The event took place less than a day after her spouse, Guatemalan Special Prosecutor for Human Rights, Sergio Morales, published a landmark report on human rights abuses during the country’s decades-long civil conflict.

Monterroso who is also in charge of the women’s arm of the Encuentro por Guatemala political party was kidnapped, sedated and tortured. Although she was later freed, she received hospital treatment for serious injuries and is currently recovering at home.

Morales released the Special Report of the Historical Archives of the National Police: the Right to Know on 24 March, in an historic act paving the way for reconciliation in Guatemala. The report records the contents of 80 million documents dating from 1960 to 1996, discovered in police archives four years ago.

The archives contain vital information on police involvement in torture, enforced disappearances and other abuses. This archival evidence has already resulted in the recent detention of two former members of a police unit, implicated in death squad activities during the conflict.

It is estimated that up to 250,000 people disappeared or were killed between 1960 and 1996, and it is believed that the Guatemalan military and police were responsible for the majority of abuses. To date, no high-ranking member of the military or government has been brought to justice for human rights violations.

Many of the victims of abuses were women who were systematically subject to rape, mutilation and sexual attack. Sergio Morales’ office has also consistently reported that violent attacks against women remain high in Guatemala, despite the peace process, and that very few cases are properly investigated or prosecuted.

Although no-one has claimed responsibility for the attack on Gladys Monterroso, there is a widespread belief among human rights organisations and the Special Prosecutor’s office that this event was directly linked to her husband’s work and, particularly, the aforementioned report.

"ARTICLE 19 believes that the abduction and torture of Gladys Monterroso is both cowardly and despicable,” states Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. “It is a sad and tragic reminder that the past is the present and also probably the future, as long as impunity prevails. Those responsible for the attack must be found and prosecuted. ARTICLE 19 sends Ms Monterroso our deepest sympathy and solidarity and salutes her immense courage.

Guatemalans have the right to know the truth about their past,” continues Callamard. “It is both a fundamental human right and a psychological necessity for the victims of abuses. It is also essential for the country’s healing process and democratic evolution.

ARTICLE 19 celebrates the publication of this report and expresses support for the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights, as they engage in the process of transitional justice for Guatemala.


For more information contact Ricardo González, ARTICLE 19 Freedom of Expression Programme Officer at or +52 55 1054 6400.