Guatemala Free Press-Justice for Raul Figueroa Sarti

January 28, 2010

Letter from Facebook Photographers Group

Filed under: Uncategorized — figueroafreepress @ 7:05 pm


We, the undersigned photographers, hereby protest the unjust arrest and conviction of Raúl Figueroa Sarti.

On August 6th, 2009, this prestigious Guatemalan editor was sentenced to one year in prison for copyright violation, as the result of a complaint brought by a photographer for the allegedly-unauthorized publication of a photograph on the cover of a novel.

The court reached this sentence despite the complainant’s own testimony that he lied under oath about the essentials of his claim, and despite there being no precedent in Guatemalan case law for a conviction and sentence of this nature.

As photographers working in Guatemala and abroad, we support photographers’ rights and the protection of copyright. Our livelihoods depend on our right to just compensation for our work, and access to legal recourse when compensation is denied. But we also support Raul Figueroa Sarti.

We, the undersigned photographers, therefore respectfully submit the following:

Whereas the sentencing of Figueroa Sarti to one year in prison far exceeds the bounds of reasonable compensation in a case of this nature;

Whereas the complaining photographer’s actions in bringing this unjust claim diminish the reputation and professionalism of photographers in Guatemala and abroad;

Whereas unjust application of copyright law threatens the integrity of the legal system that we all depend on, and is therefore a threat to all of us;

And whereas the prosecution of Figueroa Sarti under these circumstances undermines freedom of expression for all in Guatemala – photographers, authors, publishers, and citizens;

We urge Guatemala’s Attorney General to support Figueroa’s appeal against his conviction. We furthermore urge the Public Prosecutor to vacate the conviction against Raúl Figueroa Sarti, and seek a judgment of acquittal.


(150 photographers)