WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Less than two weeks after the National Press Club launched their campaign on change.org nearly 18,000 people have signed the petition calling for the release of detained Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez. The National Press Club's Executive Director Bill McCarren will hand-deliver those signatures to the detention facility in El Paso, TX today where Gutierrez is being held. Rep. Robert "Beto" O'Rourke (D-TX) and Gutierrez's attorney Eduardo Beckett will accompany McCarren to the detention facility.
After visiting the detention facility, McCarren, Beckett and local officials will head to El Paso's Paso Del Norte Port of Entry before making their way to La Fe Culture & Technology Center for a 1:00 p.m. press conference.
In 2008, Gutierrez, along with his then 15-year-old son Oscar, fled Mexico in the face of death threats and sought asylum immediately upon entry into the United States. Gutierrez was forced to flee when his reporting on abuses of civilians by the Mexican military for El Diario del Noroeste resulted in several threatening visits from the military and reports from multiple sources that Gutierrez was on a hit list.
Gutierrez's request for asylum, currently before the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals, reached a fever pitch on Dec. 7, 2017 when during a routine check-in, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials handcuffed Gutierrez and Oscar, and informed them that they were being deported and sent back to Mexico. Thanks to the quick action of Gutierrez's attorney Eduardo Beckett, the Board of Immigration Appeals issued a stay of the deportation order within 10 minutes of receiving Beckett's call.
Now, just two months after accepting the 2017 John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award at the National Press Club, and despite the stay of the deportation order issued nearly two weeks ago by the Board of Immigration Appeals, Gutierrez and Oscar continue to be held - at times in shackles - in an immigration detention center in El Paso.
The National Press Club has launched a change.org petition for release of both men and has filed a letter with the Board of Immigration Appeals. Nearly two dozen professional press organizations are supporting the effort, as is the editorial board of The Washington Post.
WHO: National Press Club Executive Director Bill McCarren, Attorney Eduardo Beckett and local officials.
WHAT: Press conference to discuss the case of detained journalist Emilio Gutierrez
WHEN: 1:00 p.m. (MT) Friday, Dec. 22
WHERE: La Fe Culture & Technology Center
721 S Ochoa Street (Rear Building) El Paso, TX 79901
WHY: A journalist's life, and freedom of speech on the North American continent, is at stake.
The National Press Club, located in downtown Washington, D.C., is The World's Leading Professional Organization for Journalists™; through its non-profit Journalism Institute, it supports the First Amendment in the United States and freedom of the press worldwide.
Lindsay Underwood, National Press Club, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-662-7561
SOURCE National Press Club