It calls for transparency and due process
Miami (November 6, 2018) .- The public prosecutor of Aruba announced the release of journalist Marko Espinoza, vice president of the Press Freedom Commission of the SIP in Aruba and assured that his arrest and that of two other colleagues is no longer necessary for the investigation of a series of imputed crimes.
Hours earlier, the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) had expressed concern over the arrest in Aruba of journalist Marko Espinoza and three other reporters, while asking the authorities for transparency, due process and release.
On October 30, reporters Ross Tromp and Maritza Lacle, of the Aruba Native and Solo di Pueblo websites, were arrested on the police station of Santa Cruz, Espinoza, of the newspaper 24ora.com, for the alleged use of police radios for access the police frequencies and know in real time the crimes to give news coverage to them. On Tuesday morning the journalist Nelson Andrade was also arrested, related to this case. The Public Ministry announced that the investigation by listening to the police radio frequency is still open.
Tromp and Lacle were released last Sunday. Espinoza, vice-president for Aruba of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information remains in detention.
In letters sent last week to police, judicial and Public Ministry authorities, the president of the IAPA, María Elvira Domínguez and the president of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, requested a detailed explanation of the reasons that led to the journalist arrests and demanded transparency, guarantees of due process and respect for the physical integrity of the detainees.
Rock considered that the authorities' investigations into alleged crimes committed by reporters could continue without the need for them to be detained, "as in many countries, where journalists usually listen to police frequencies to ensure better coverage of criminal acts, accidents or catastrophes, always with the intention of bringing news of public interest to their audiences ".
Domínguez, from El País de Cali, Colombia and Rock, from La Silla Rota in Mexico City, Mexico, expressed in the letter addressed to Santa Cruz Police Chief Andrew Hoo; the attorney general, Alexander van Dam; the Minister of Justice, Andin C.G. Bikker and the prosecutor in charge of the case, Willem Bos, their "fear that the reasons for the arrest may have hindered the professional work of journalists in clear violation of the constitutional principles governing freedom of the press and of expression in the country."
The organization's officials received no response from the authorities of Aruba.
The IAPA also reported the situation of the detainees to the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Edison Lanza; to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye and the representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Harlem Désir.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.