10 October 2002
Proposed legislation seeks to criminalise the offence of "insult" ("desacato")
(PFC/IFEX) - The Nicaraguan National Assembly is studying proposed legislation entitled "The Law to Regulate the Crime of Insult (Desacato)". The bill, which sets out punishment of up to five years in prison for those who offend or insult state institutions and the president, has been rejected by the public, in particular local journalists' associations, state and non-governmental human rights organisations, and members of Congress from different political parties.
In a letter to National Assembly President Jaime Cuadra, PFC said that the draft legislation constituted "a serious restriction of freedom of expression and another attempt to shield government officials implicated in the widespread corruption that has paralysed the country." PFC asked Cuadra to intercede before the Assembly so that the bill is rejected.
PFC noted that "the use of 'desacato' as a special mechanism to protect state functionaries is unacceptable in democratic societies, in which citizens must enjoy as great a freedom as possible to speak out and question their representatives' actions and behaviour. This is especially true when it comes to matters of the integrity with which power and public resources must be managed, and the proper conduct of servants of the state. To restrict these freedoms only serves to hide acts of corruption and inhibits public condemnation of such acts."
PFC's letter to the president of the National Assembly can be read at: http://portal-pfc.org/libexp/docs/2002/086.html
Further information on the case can be found at: http://portal-pfc.org/legislacion/2002/071.html
Send appeals to Representative Cuadra:
- asking that the draft legislation on "desacato" be rejected, as it constitutes an infringement on freedom of expression
Diputado Jaime Cuadra
Presidente de la Asamblea Nacional y de la Bancada Azúl y Blanco
Send copies to representatives of the political parties in the National Assembly:
Diputado Pedro Joaquín Ríos
Bancada del Partido Liberal Constitucionalista (PLC)
Diputado Edwin Castro
Bancada del Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (FSLN)
E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Reverendo Guillermo Osorno
Bancada partido Camino Cristiano
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.