WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Dec. 11 the National Press Club started an online petition -- Change.org/FreeEmilio -- designed to help obtain the release of Mexican Journalist Emilio Gutierrez and his son Oscar who are currently being held in the El Paso Detention Center as their legal team scrambles to block their deportation to Mexico.
The petition was launched Monday afternoon and announced at a news conference at the Press Club. The numbers climbed immediately with more than 2,000 people signing on in the first 24 hours. By Friday the petition had more than 12,000 signatures.
The Club is gathering the signatures to add to a filing in court by Emilio's attorneys. His denial of asylum is based on a challenge to his professional standing as a journalist and on his inability to satisfy the judge that his life is at risk if he is deported to Mexico.
Gutierrez fled Mexico nine years ago, after his newspaper stories about the corruption in the Mexican military raised threats of violence and intimidation against him and others working on the same stories. According to a recent report by the United Nations, Mexico has one of the worst records in the world with respect to violence against journalists. If Gutierrez were deported his life would be at risk.
In October, 2017, the National Press Club, which is the world's leading professional organization for journalists, recognized Gutierrez as the winner of its John Aubuchon Award for Press Freedom. Dozens of other journalism organizations have also spoken out for Mr. Gutierrez and urged that he be set free. In a Dec. 12, 2017 editorial the Washington Post called for Mr. Gutierrez to be granted asylum by the government of the United States.
It is easy to sign the online petition by simply doing a web search for Change.org and then searching for the site for FreeEmilio. Once you see the petition, just follow the prompts to sign.
Your signature will join the thousands of others in an expression to a court filing that may lead to renewed freedom for this award-winning journalist.
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists and a tireless advocate for press freedom worldwide. The press freedom activities of the National Press Club are coordinated by the National Press Club Journalism Institute, a 501-c3.
Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534 or firstname.lastname@example.org for the National Press Club
SOURCE National Press Club