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Journalist released

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On 18 May 2011, journalist Walter Vite Benítez was released after a court accepted a motion to annul the order for his arrest in the lawsuit filed against him for malicious slander by the mayor of the city of Esmeraldas, a city located 318 km north of Quito.

Freddy Rivas, the journalist's attorney, told Fundamedios that Vite's arrest was "arbitrary, wrongful, and illegitimate" because the statute of limitation for penal action had expired. "The judges should have delivered a judgment prior to 18 November 2010 and they didn't," he pointed out.

The journalist found out about the favorable ruling while hospitalized, under police surveillance, at the Delfina Torres Hospital, where he was recovering from cardiac arrhythmia and blood pressure problems after having undertaken a hunger strike for 21 days starting on 27 April, the day he was taken to the Provisional Detention Center. The journalist stated during a telephone conversation with Fundamedios that "I'm being given another chance to continue fighting and to build on what others have destroyed."

The radio broadcaster had been ccused of slandering the mayor of Esmeraldas, Ernesto Estupiñán, via comments made on his radio Iris program "Habla Esmeraldas" and was sentenced to a year in prison by the city's 3rd Penal Guarantees judge.

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Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2018 https://t.co/1zydy5aoyg @RSF_inter https://t.co/Y5s0fs4g3n