Miami (November 9, 2022) - For the first time in its 80-year history, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) elected two imprisoned journalists to its Board of Directors, Juan Lorenzo Holmann and José Ruben Zamora, during its General Assembly, held in Madrid, Spain, from October 27 to 30.
The election process, in which eligible IAPA members vote secretly, ended on October 4. The results were announced on October 30, and Juan Lorenzo Holmann and José Ruben Zamora were elected to the surprise of those in Madrid. Every year the IAPA renews a third of its 60-member Board of Directors, who remain in office for three years. This link highlights the list of journalists elected for 2022-2025.
IAPA President Michael Greenspon said: "We are very excited that our membership elected our colleagues Juan Lorenzo Holmann and José Ruben Zamora because it is a way to shield them and keep their names on the public agenda." Greenspon, Global Head, NYT Licensing & Print Innovation, The New York Times Company, New York, United States, added: "This commits IAPA to continue insisting on releasing both journalists. They should continue their judicial processes from their homes under the guarantee of due process."
Holmann, general manager of the Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa, has been in prison since August 14, 2021. He was sentenced to nine years in prison for the alleged crime of money laundering. The regime usurped the newspaper's offices and workshops, taken over by the national police on August 13, 2021. Holmann is also regional vice president of the IAPA's Commission on Freedom of the Press and Information. In Madrid, his daughter Renata Holman presented a moving testimony about the serious deterioration of his health and the precarious conditions suffered by her father and the other journalists imprisoned in the country.
Zamora, the publisher of the Guatemalan newspaper elPeriódico, has been in prison since July 29 after a large-scale police operation that included the search of the newspaper's headquarters and seizing its bank accounts. They accuse him of the alleged crimes of money laundering, conspiracy, influence peddling, and blackmail. The IAPA announced in Madrid that it would send an international delegation to Guatemala on December 8 and 9 to investigate his case and other press freedom violations.
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.