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Editor fined for defamation in Peru after printing excerpts from another source

On 21 May 2013, Alcides Peñaranda Oropeza, editor of the newspaper and magazine Integracíon, was sentenced by a judge in the judicial district of Ancash, Rosana Luna León, to a two-year suspended prison sentence and to pay 10 thousand nuevos soles (approx. US$ 3,700) in civil damages, after finding him responsible for defamation against Cesar Álvarez Aguilar, head of the Ancash region in northeastern Peru.

Peñaranda Oropeza published an article in the 17th issue of the magazine, in February 2013, in which he reproduced phrases from a magazine published in Lima, Hildebrandt en su strece, referring to the alleged protection provided to the regional president by the local public prosecutor's office.

Judge Luna León read out the judgment in the absence of the plaintiff Álvarez Aguilar, a politician known for his violent confrontations with the press. In fact, his followers attempted to attack the journalists who accompanied Peñaranda, whose defense counsel appealed the verdict.

The journalist told IPYS that on days before and after the complaint he was threatened by strangers who are close to the Ancash regional leadership. The magazine's manager, Yolanda Quito Camones, was also threatened.

Last week, at the end of the last court hearing, Quito Camones was physically attacked by a group of Álvarez followers and hit by the official car he uses. It was being driven by Wilson Vásquez, whom she filed a complaint against with the police station in Huaraz. The police have made no statements about the incident yet.

IPYS is concerned by the alledged attacks by Cesar Álvarez Aguilar against journalists, and his alleged links to power. The organisation expresses its solidarity with Alcides Peñaranda Oropeza.

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