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Peruvian journalist receives two sentences for defamation

On 18 September 2013, Judge Gisela Zúñiga, of the First Single-Judge Division of the Superior Court of Justice of Áncash, issued a verdict against journalist Humberto Espinoza Maguiña ordering him to a two-year suspended prison sentence, 120 days of community service and the payment of S/. 5,000 (approx. US$2,000) in fines for the crime of defamation against a regional politician, César Álvarez. Áncash is a region in northeastern Peru.

Espinoza Maguiña was accused of defaming Álvarez in an article published in August 2012 in the newspaper he then edited, Prensa Regional, which reported alleged acts of corruption committed by Álvarez in the regional government.

On 19 September the same court sentenced the same journalist for the crime of defamation against César Álvarez for an article published in October 2012, also in the newspaper Prensa Regional, which accused the regional government of political interference in the suspension of the license and seizure of the equipment of Radio Áncash.

Espinoza Maguiña told IPYS that the sentences are part of a campaign against him in retaliation for his journalistic accusations against César Álvarez's administration. He also pointed out that he has received several death threats involving him and his family requiring him to stop reporting on accusations against the regional leader. Espinoza and his lawyer have appealed both sentences, requesting the annulment of proceedings.

Humberto Espinoza is the fourth journalist of the Áncash region who has received a sentence for defamation against César Álvarez this year.

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