San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Guatemalan Journalist Killed in His Home

GUATEMALA CITY – The correspondent for the Guatemalan daily Prensa Libre in the city of Coatepeque, located some 210 kilometers southwest of the capital, was shot to death inside his house last weekend, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Jorge Mérida, who had been Prensa Libre’s correspondent in Coatepeque for a year, was killed Saturday night by an unidentified individual who entered his residence in the El Rosario neighborhood and opened fire without saying a word.

Mérida was shot four times in the face and head as he was working on his computer on a story for Prensa Libre, police said.

“A man on a bicycle entered his house, fired four times without saying a word and left,” the National Civilian Police said in a statement.

Gonzalo Marroquín, publisher of Prensa Libre and president of the Inter-American Press Association’s Committee on Freedom of the Press (IAPA), called on authorities to quickly investigate the case.

The IAPA’s latest report on freedom of the press in Guatemala warned that journalists in the Central American nation’s provinces were being targeted because of their work and had received death threats.

Prosecutor Mario Castañeda, who is in charge of a unit that investigates crimes against journalists, traveled to Coatepeque to work on the case.

Mérida filed reports in recent days on drug trafficking and alleged irregularities in the management of the city of Quetzaltenango.


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