Guatemala Free Press-Justice for Raul Figueroa Sarti

ACTION: Photographers for Justice

Because the case against Figueroa originated in a photographer’s copyright claim, photographers have a special role to play in speaking out for justice. The following open letter will be published as a full-page ad in Guatemalan newspapers. If you’re a photographer and would like to support the campaign, sign on to the open letter below by sending your name and country to photographersforjustice@gmail.com.

Photographers For Justice

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.

Signed,

Saladin Ambar (United States)
Kate Ahl (United Kingdom)
Rosane Arantes (United States)
Marilyn Anderson (United States)
Vaughn Anderson (United States)
Victoria Constance Odhner Austin (United States)
Raymond Baldino (United States)
Krittika Banerjee (India)
Brendan Bannon (Kenya)
Elande Baro (United States)
Amanda Barrett (United States)
Jaime Barrios Carillo (Guatemala)
Derrill Bazzy (United States)
Sally Be (United States)
Ingrid Benavente (Guatemala)
Michael London Berube (United States)
Alyson Black (United States)
Yvonne Blank (United States)
Becky Blosser (United States)
Kitty Brophy (United States)
Jamie Bruno (United States/South Korea)
Scott Bruton (United States)
Rima Buaini (United Kingdom)
Brian Butterick (United States)
Paul Cabuts (United Kingdom)
Dan Campbell (United States)
Aner Candelario (United States)
Robert Carrithers (United States/Czech Republic)
Vicente Chapero Ayala (Guatemala)
Annia Ciezadlo (Lebanon)
Celestine Compton (United States)
Amber Cooper (United States)
Ruben Cordova (United States)
Lenny Correa (United States/South Korea)
Beatriz Cortez (United States)
Jessa-Raye Court (United States)
Michael Crockfords (United States)
Richard Cusumano (United States)
Vicenta Del Carmen Valero (United States)
Anthony Dominiczak (United States)
Jesse Douglas (United States)
Kimberly Dowd (United States)
Chloe Dzubilo (United States)
Karen Elliot (United States)
Krystal Eversdyk (United States)
Kareen Lynn Erbe (Peru)
Jacinta Escudos (El Salvador)
Faramarz Farbod (Iran/United States)
Benjamin Fasching-Gray (United States/Austria)
Josephine Fasching-Gray (United States)
Elizabeth Felicella (United States)
Lilian Fernandez Hall (Argentina/Sweden)
Ann Filemyr (United States)
John Finney (United States)
Erin Finzer (United States)
Kate Flint (United States)
Fiona Flynn (United Kingdom)
Jeff Freeby (United States)
Valeria Garrote (Argentina/United States)
Emmet Gowin (United States)
Christina Griffith (United States)
Michelet Gros (United States)
David de Gruyl (United States)
May Hamdan (United States)
Laura Hamilton (United States)
Susan Hannaford (United States)
Kirk Henritzy (United States)
Brianne Henry (United States)
Claudia Hernández (El Salvador)
Jamaila Hernandez (United States)
Joelle Howald (United States)
Charlie Hoyt (United States)
Gareth Hughes (United Kingdom/Germany)
Brian Humphreys (United States)
Alice Hunsberger (United States)
Alexa Hunter (United States)
Lynn Hunter (United States)
Chad Huntington (United States)
Rana Jaleel (United States)
Dany Johnson (United States)
María José Castaing (France)
Nicky Karluk (United States)
Sasha Kaye (United States)
Laura Kennedy (United States)
Brendan Kirkpatrick (United States)
Ray Klimek (United States)
Elric Kline (United States)
Ron Kline (United States)
Jennifer Kolarsick (United States)
Lisa Konoplisky (United States)
Justin Koren (United States)
Beth Lavely (United States)
James Lavoy (United States)
Brad Lawton (United States)
Sue-Yee Leung (United States)
Dick Lynn (United States)
Sara Mana (Italy/United States)
Ann Marsden (United States)
Larry McAllister II (United States)
Challiss McDonough (United States/Spain/Afghanistan)
Diane McGovern (United States)
Susan Meiselas (United States)
Erica Melville (United States)
Barbara Millman (United States)
Jonathan Moller (United States)
Delilah Montoya (United States)
Pablo Mosteiro Romero (Argentina/United States)
Adam Mumford (United States)
Chuck Nanney (United States)
John Normile (United States)
Vanessa Núñez Handal (Guatemala)
David Odo (United States)
Edward Ott (United States)
Laila Ozols-Gillespie (Canada/United States)
Matt Pacenza (United States)
Morgan Page (United States)
April Palmieri (United States)
Jen Park (United States)
Deb Parker (United States)
Jess Parsons (United States)
Anne Percoco (United States)
Angela Perkins DeSoto (United States)
Ignacia Perugorría (Argentina/Spain)
Justine Pippitt (United States)
Amy Pratico (United States)
Patrick Rice (United States)
Teri Rice (United States)
José Luis Rodríguez Pittí (Panama)
Shawna Romero (United States)
Tom Russotti, New York (United States)
Christa Salamandra (United States)
David Sananman (United States)
John Sanchez (United States)
Greg Schaal (United States)
Hilma Schmoock Pivaral (Guatemala)
Marlene Schrantz (United States)
David Seiter (United States)
Eunice Shade (Nicaragua)
Andre Afrodite Shoals (United States)
Misty Shores (United States)
Jean-Marie Simon (United States)
Linda Simpson (United States)
Faujja Singh (United States)
Joseph Sorrentino (United States)
Kristen Sprague Sibrel (United States)
Amy Squires (United States)
Sally Stein (United States)
Steve Stoll (United States)
Doug Stoveken (United States)
Jiawei Sun (China/United States
Jason Turovskiy (United States)
Alina Vamanu (United States)
Fanny Vocanson (United States)
Minglian Wang (China/United States)
Ken West (United States)
Charlotte Whalen (United States)
Andy Whyland (United States)
Raymond Yazbeck (Lebanon
Wenjia Yuan (China/United States)
Christina Yuin (United States)
Michele Zalopany (United States)
Venus Beinan Zhang (United States)

3 Comments »

  1. Do the right thing and free this person.

    Comment by Doug Hodges — August 17, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

  2. This case gives new meaning to the term “kangaroo court.” The charges are baseless and the sentence outrageous. This is yet another attempt to quash freedom of the press in Guatemala. Voice your concern with PEN, Human Rights First, and WOLA.

    Comment by Jean-Marie Simon — August 17, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

  3. This is a witch hunt scenario, the Guatemalan government has got to stop persecuting it’s citizens!

    Comment by karen — August 17, 2009 @ 11:24 pm


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