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Journalist receives two-year suspended prison sentence

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 7 December 2011, journalist Luis Torres Montero was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay 150 thousand soles (approx. US$56,000) in reparation for having allegedly defamed politician Rafael Rey in a satirical column published by the "La Primera" newspaper. The sentencing took place in Lima, the capital city of Peru.

The sentence against Torres Montero, who is currently the multimedia editor for the Andina state news agency, was handed down by 26th Criminal Court Judge Benjamín Enríquez Colfer, who based his decision on the fact that the journalist alleged that Rey, who at the time of publication of the article was the minister of defence, was a homosexual by calling him "Rafi Rey".

Torres Montero told IPYS he is outraged over the sentence and feels it is unjust considering that the column was a literary satire. He questioned Judge Enríquez Colfer's decision and said he will appeal the sentence.

The column, which the journalist titled "Rafi Rey doesn't dare come out of the closet", was published on 6 April 2010. Torres Montero received notice of the lawsuit on 6 August of that year. He believes Rey took revenge because, since December 2009, the newspaper had dedicated several front pages stories and published a number of articles criticising his performance as minister of defence.

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