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Newspaper fined for publishing reader's letter

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 5 December 2008, the State of Rio Grande do Sul's Court of Justice, in the city of Caxias do Sul, southern Brazil, ratified a sentence against the "Pioneiro" newspaper and businessman Airton Zanandrea for having "damaged the honour" of Judge Sérgio Fusquine Goncalves by publishing a letter in which Zanandrea criticised the judge in November 2007.

The newspaper and Zanandrea, were sentenced on 26 September 2008 and together will have to pay indemnities of R$ 40,000 (approx. US$ 17,000).

Zanandrea criticised the judge in his letter after the newspaper published a report about the excessive number of prisoners in the local jail and alleged that the judge arbitrarily granted parole to a man accused of theft. He also criticised the criminals, the judge and the state for not solving the problems in the prisons.

Zanandrea said that he sent the letter to the newspaper's editor, but did not authorise the paper to publish it.

The newspaper will have to pay 62.5% of the indemnities and the businessman will pay the difference.

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