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Jan 18, 2018

Guat Reporter Claims He Was Assaulted by Belizean Authorities

Rigoberto Escobar Lopez

As we said, Escobar Lopez is a reporter attached to Prensa Libre and Guatevision in Peten, Flores.  He claims he was assaulted by a police officer after being spotted at the western border taking pictures of the customs and immigration offices.  According to the journalist, he was going about his business documenting the work of the adjacency zone when he came under attack after being told to leave Belizean territory.  He alleges that he was grabbed by the neck, with an intention to take him to the police substation in Benque Viejo under the assertion that he entered into the country illegally.  Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington says he has received a copy of the report and that it is regrettable that members of the police department acted in such hostile manner toward the reporter.

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Foreign Minister

“I did get a report on it yesterday, I think from my office.  It seems to be a most unfortunate incident.  Apparently the journalist who clearly had Prensa Libre marked on his shirt was taking photographs of the customs and immigration offices at the border point and I got the impression that an overzealous police constable sought to impede him from so doing.  I think it really was done out of his overzealousness, it is not something that I would have urged him to do.  People have so many phones and people are taking photographs with phones all over the place.  I personally have no difficulty with people taking photographs of others.  I do know that the police seem to resent it when citizens take their photographs.  I don’t think that there is anything wrong in a citizen wanting to take a person’s photograph.  I’m of the view that that might not have been a very prudent and necessary action on the part of the police and I regret that it occurred.  That’s about all I can say about it at this time.  I trust that the higher command of the police force will advise the constables and others that there is no harm in persons taking photographs.”

 

Late this evening, the Ministry of Defence issued a statement saying that the B.D.F. was not involved in the incident. According to the statement, the Belize Defense Force does not have a permanent presence at the Western Border or any other formal border entry facility. It ends by saying that “security at these Border Facilities is the responsibility of the Border Management Authority assisted by permanent police outposts.”

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2 Responses for “Guat Reporter Claims He Was Assaulted by Belizean Authorities”

  1. spike says:

    Mr. Lopez needs to get back on his side of the fence. Pronto!

  2. AJIPTO says:

    Hon. Elrington should travel his borders more often. Police have the right to remove any suspicious spy from Guatemala from Belize. Often border crossing prohibits the use of cameras. The Guatemalans just want to provoke and cause trouble.

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