Court imposes “unjust and dangerous” prison sentence on provincial newspaper correspondent

first_img EcuadorAmericas News News April 10, 2020 Find out more RSF_en Two months before Assange’s extradition hearing, RSF calls for his release on humanitarian grounds and for US Espionage Act charges to be dropped The 60-day prison sentence passed by the high court of the central province of Cotopaxi on Nelson Fueltala, the correspondent of the La Gaceta daily newspaper and Radio Latacunga, for insulting the mayor of Pujilí was disproportionate and liable to encourage self-censorship, Reporters Without Borders said today.“This court’s ruling is both grossly unjust and dangerous,” the press freedom organisation said. “It is unjust because prison sentences should never be passed in this kind of case. It is dangerous because it poses a threat to free expression for the Ecuadorean press and, as a result, fosters self-censorship. We hope the supreme court will overturn this decision and, in the process, establish a legal precedent.”A report Fueltala wrote for the 2 June 2006 issue of La Gaceta quoted comments by then municipal commissioner Ricardo Estrella criticising Pujilí mayor Marcelo Arroyo Ruiz. The mayor brought a complaint before a local court, which acquitted Fueltala.His acquittal was overturned on 6 March by the high court, which ordered Fueltala to pay 70 dollars in damages and sentenced him to 60 days in prison. The ruling has triggered an outcry in the Ecuadorean media. The municipal commission called it “a violation of human rights in a democratic country.”Fueltala’s lawyer, Luis Carrillo, immediately appealed to the supreme court in Quito, which agreed on 13 March to consider the case although it has not yet set a date. Fueltala does not have to begin serving the sentence as long as the appeal is pending.Journalists demonstrated in support of press freedom outside the town hall on 28 March. They were joined by police, and together they continued the protest outside the Cotopaxi provincial high court building. Coronavirus: State measures must not allow surveillance of journalists and their sources December 24, 2019 Find out more Receive email alerts EcuadorAmericas center_img Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives Follow the news on Ecuador June 15, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information News to go further April 2, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Court imposes “unjust and dangerous” prison sentence on provincial newspaper correspondent News Organisation last_img read more