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Radio Inti Pacha journalist faces charges of "inciting rebellion" after indigenous communities stage nationwide anti-mining protests

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has demanded an explanation from the authorities about the reasons and circumstances of the 20 January 2009 arrest of community journalist Francisco Farinango in Ñaño Loma, in the Pichincha region of northern Ecuador.

The Radio Inti Pacha reporter was arrested with three other members of his Tupigachi community on the sidelines of nationwide demonstrations by indigenous communities against a new mining law, which locally degenerated into clashes with security forces. The capital Quito is in the Pichincha region.

Police sources cited by the national press said that the journalist was accused of having "incited" his companions to demonstrate. A total of nine people were held and six others injured during the demonstration.

Farinango was released on 21 January but still faces charges of "rebellion" along with two other community members arrested with him.

"Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release of the journalist but once again appeals to the justice system to proceed with caution. The fact that Francisco Farinango supports the claims of his community does not rule out that he sought to do his job as a reporter during the demonstrations. The procedure should be fair and not be used to punish Inti Pacha by getting at one of its journalists," the organisation said.

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