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Imprisoned journalist faces another lawsuit

(IPYS/IFEX) - In April 2009, journalist Milton Nelson Chacaguasay, editor of the weekly "La Verdad", was sued by Silvio Castillo, II civil judge in the province of El Oro, in southwestern Ecuador. Castillo is asking for US$400,000 in damages based on a sentence for which the journalist is serving 10 months in prison for having slandered the judge in September 2007. Chacaguasay began to serve his sentence in November 2008.

The journalist is also facing a lawsuit filed by El Oro's former district prosecutor, Francisco Quevedo Madrid, because of an article that links Quevedo to the late former notary José Cabrera, whose phantom financial institution harmed thousands of Ecuadorians.

The journalist was sentenced to thirty days in prison for this but he appealed the ruling and the case is now being heard by El Oro's Provincial Criminal Court of Justice.

According to Chacaguasay, the Social Rehabilitation Directorate has not responded to his request for parole, submitted in March, when he had served two fifths of his sentence.

The journalist, who has been in prison for six months, has initiated proceedings to make use of the "two for one law", which states that a prisoner can be released if he has served half his sentence and has shown good behaviour.

IPYS and FUNDAMEDIOS believe that crimes of opinion should be decriminalised and tried in the civil courts, which impose damages but no prison terms for those found guilty. They also believe the journalist is being targeted for having criticized the region's authorities.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities:
- requesting that they analyse more rigorously the lawsuits filed against the journalist


APPEALS TO:

Corte Superior de Justicia
Mcs. Dr. Patricio Carrillo Dávila
Presidente de la Corte (Court President)
Tel: +2 900 488, ext. 1695 (Secretaría de Presidencia)
E-mail: [email protected]

Corte Provincial de Justicia de El Oro
Abog. Jorge Benavides Estrella
Presidente de la Corte (Court President)
Tel: +2 932 429, ext.300, 2 937 248
E-mail: [email protected]

Director Provincial del Consejo de la Judicatura de El Oro
(Provincial Director of the El Oro Judicial Council)
Dr. Rubén Ludeña Paléz
E-mail: [email protected]

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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