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Ecuadorian journalist acquitted of "terrorism" charges

On August 27, 2013, the First Instance Criminal Court of Esmeraldas acquitted journalist Juan Alcívar, a correspondent with Diario La Hora in La Concordia, Esmeraldas. Alcívar had been accused of the crime of “terrorism against a public servant”, for supposedly throwing a pepper gas bomb inside a venue where President Rafael Correa was visiting on July 19, 2010.

On August 15, 2013, the First Instance Court acquitted Alcívar of the charges due to the lack of evidence against him after a public hearing on the case. Four more people were acquitted of the same charges. However, council member Rosaura Bastidas, from theopposition party MPD, was declared guilty of the crime. She is also president of the National Union of Educators in Esmeraldas.

Alcívar indicated that “the lack of evidence was the reason why I was declared innocent. The important thing is that even the witnesses presented by the Prosecutor's and Mayor's offices were the ones that demonstrated I was innocent. There were inconsistencies in their depositions”.

In the past, Alcívar had said that the trial against him reflected a political persecution carried out by the mayor of La Concordia, who had been criticized by Alcívar when the latter worked on El Nuevo Sol radio.

Likewise, the journalist mentioned that during the trial he suffered verbal aggressions and threats, to the point that he had to flee the city to protect his life. On August 2010, the journalist was detained as a preemptive measure ordered by the Fourth Criminal Court of Quinindé, based on the statements of two employees of the City Hall. The measure was dropped a month later and replaced with another measure that ordered Alcívar to present himself at the Court every two weeks.

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