Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 16:02 GMT

Journalists Killed in 2003 - Motive Confirmed: Héctor Ramírez

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date January 2004
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Journalists Killed in 2003 - Motive Confirmed: Héctor Ramírez, January 2004, available at: [accessed 18 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Noti7 and Radio Sonora
July 24, 2003, in Guatemala City, Guatemala

Ramírez, a reporter for Guatemala's Noti 7 television station and Radio Sonora, died from a heart attack after fleeing from attackers who were beating him while he was covering protests in the capital, Guatemala City, according to autopsy results.

On July 24, riots erupted across Guatemala City after the Supreme Court's July 20 decision granting two opposition parties an injunction temporarily barring former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt from running for president in the November 9 elections. A later ruling allowed Ríos Montt to run in the poll, which he lost.

Supporters of Ríos Montt's political party, the Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), attacked other journalists in different areas of the capital, sources told CPJ. "It was crazy, the mob was completely out of control," Haroldo Sánchez, news director for Guatevisión television station, told CPJ. According to CPJ sources, government authorities and the National Police did little to control the protesters.

In August, Ramírez's family filed a criminal complaint against President Alfonso Portillo Cabrera, several government ministers, Ríos Montt, and high-ranking FRG officials, accusing them of being responsible for the journalist's death.

In an October meeting with a CPJ delegation, Marco Antonio Cortez, the Attorney General Office's special prosecutor for crimes against journalists and trade unionists, told CPJ that he had asked the Supreme Court to initiate preliminary proceedings (antejuicios) against President Portillo, Ríos Montt, and other high-ranking government officials to determine if their immunity can be lifted so they can be tried as private citizens. As of December, the proceedings had not yet begun.

Medium:Radio, Television
Job:Broadcast Reporter
Beats Covered:Politics
Local or Foreign:Local
Type of Death:Dangerous Assignment
Suspected Source of Fire:Mob Violence


Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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