Target: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina
Goal: Release journalist imprisoned for broadcasting scenes of police brutality
A journalist has been accused of terrorism by the Argentinian authorities. Juan Pablo Suarez is the first to be charged under the country’s Ley Antiterrorista, or anti-terrorist law, simply for his role in broadcasting violent arrests during protests. With his current charges, this journalist faces up to twelve years in prison.
During Argentina’s mass protests in December 2013, Mr. Suarez broadcast footage of police brutalizing demonstrators. He filmed eight officers violently beating a retired ex-officer before arresting him. This was done in full view of the victim’s distressed family. Suarez, along with other citizens who had filmed the incident, was arrested the next day and his equipment was confiscated. Officers accused him of creating a violent mass confrontation with police.
He was initially charged with sedition, or disrupting the established order, a serious crime with a penalty of 3-6 years in prison. In the past, this charge has been given to political speakers and organizers, or distributors of political pamphlets or literature.
Additional charges were then added, including “inciting mob violence against persons or institutions for the purpose of terrorizing the population.” Because the charges now fall under the Ley Antiterrorista, Suarez faces double the prison time if found guilty, and could be in prison for up to twelve years for filming illegal acts perpetrated by police.
Instead of punishing cruel officers for their illegal assault, Argentinian officials would rather cover up the charges by fabricating claims and arbitrarily arresting residents. An innocent man now faces over a decade in prison for attempting to ensure justice for a victim. Your signature will demand that Suarez is released immediately, and all charges against him are dropped.
Dear Cristina Fernández de Kirchner,
An Argentinian journalist faces up to twelve years in prison for recording police brutality against an unarmed citizen. Juan Pablo Suarez , who broadcast footage of eight officers attacking a single helpless demonstrator, was charged with sedition and inciting mob violence. These ridiculous and unsubstantiated charges could result in up to twelve years imprisonment.
Rather than investigate the unnecessary acts of violence perpetrated by police officers, officials are attempting to censor and prosecute those who object to arbitrary charges. In order to protect Argentina’s journalists and citizens, it is imperative that Mr. Suarez be released. We, the undersigned, demand that all charges against him are dropped immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: antitezo via Flickr