Prison Sentence for José Rubén Zamora, Guatemalan Newspaper Publisher

Mr. Zamora, 66, denied any wrongdoing and accused the government of trying to silence its critics.

“We have a dictatorship,’’ he told reporters during a brief break before the verdict was rendered inside a courtroom in Guatemala City, the capital. “A veiled, multiparty, tyrannical dictatorship.”

Mr. Zamora had faced many more years in prison, but the judges found there was insufficient evidence to support the other charges.

Rafael Curruchiche, who leads the special prosecutor’s office against impunity that handled the case, told reporters on Wednesday that it would appeal the judges’ decision and seek a 40-year prison sentence.

“If he said he was fighting corruption, now he is part of that corruption,’’ Mr. Curruchiche said. “He is corrupt.”

Groups that defend press freedom condemned the trial’s outcome.

Mr. Zamora’s conviction serves “as a stark testament to the erosion of freedom of speech in the country and the desperate attempts of President Alejandro Giammattei’s government to criminalize journalism,” said Carlos Martínez de la Serna, program director of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York.

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