On April 3, Memphis journalist Manuel Durán was just doing his job, covering a protest for his Spanish-language outlet, when he was arrested by police. Now Durán, who is from El Salvador, sits in an immigration detention center in Louisiana.
A #FreeManuelDuran page has been established to help Durán’s cause. According to the site, Durán was live broadcasting “an action held by several community organizations protesting the for-profit prison industry, when he was arrested by the Memphis Police Department operative at the scene. Manuel was wearing his press identification clearly visible and was one of several journalists reporting on this action, but he was the only one arrested.”
“Although the charges would be later dropped entirely,” the site says, “the Shelby County Sheriff´s office decided to turn Manuel to the immigration authorities and he is currently held in Jena, Louisiana, a private immigration detention facility owned by the GEO Group.”
“Journalists doing their job should never be targeted by law enforcement,” the page added. “We need your help to fight this injustice.”
On Tuesday, Durán and his supporters appealed for his case on DEMOCRACY NOW!
Last week, the Southern Poverty and Law Center filed a petition for Durán’s release.
The SPLC also held a press conference.
A letter from Durán was also tweeted out on April 16:
This was written by Manuel Duran from the ICE detention facility in Lousiana. He was targeted and arrested by the Memphis police department for reporting the truth. #freemanuelduran #thingsarenotok pic.twitter.com/Vrx9niXyJK
— Hunter demster (@hunter_demster) April 16, 2018
Durán’s case got the early attention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, which sent a release on April 5, as well as editorials from Tennessee papers, but as of this posting, there has been very little (if any) public pressure from journalists.