English PEN is outraged by the re-imprisonment of La Verdad editor Milton Chacaguasay Flores less than two months after he was released on parole. On 9 July 2009, Chacaguasay was jailed for four months for allegedly libelling a judge, the same charges for which he was jailed in November 2008. We are calling for Chacaguasay’s immediate and unconditional release.
On 15 November 2008, Milton Chacaguasay Flores, editor and director of the weekly newspaper La Verdad, based in Machala, southern Ecuador, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment for allegedly libelling a judge. Arrested and jailed on 30 November 2008, he was released on parole in mid May 2009, having served half of his sentence.
However, on 9 July – less than two months after his release – Chacaguasay was re-imprisoned following a new verdict for the same offence. He was sentenced to one month in prison in April but following an appeal the sentence was increased to four months.
Chacaguasay reportedly did not have the opportunity to defend himself and has denounced serious violations of due process. He says he fears for his life in prison and has requested protection from the authorities. The new sentence is due to expire on 8 November 2009.
The journalist is reportedly facing a number of other law suits, including one seeking damages of US$400,000 on the same charges.
For more information, please see the previous bulletins on Milton Chacaguasay:
– Report by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) – 16 July 2009 (English) (Spanish)
– Press release by the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights – 21 July 2009 (English) (Spanish)
Please send appeals:
– Protesting the re-imprisonment of La Verdad editor Milton Chacaguasay Flores for allegedly libelling a judge on 9 July 2009, less than two months after he was released on parole for the same offence.
– Stating that PEN believes his conviction and detention to be in violation of the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Ecuador is party.
– Expressing concern at reports that Chacaguasay was not given the opportunity to defend himself and that due process has been violated.
– Calling for Chacaguasay to be released immediately and unconditionally.
– Urging the Ecuadorian authorities to decriminalise press offences in line with article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Justice and Human Rights Minister
Ab. Néstor Arbito Chica
Ministro de Justicia y Derechos Humanos
Av. Amazonas 4545 y Atahualpa, Edif. Anexo al ex Banco Central, Quito, Ecuador
Fax: 593 2 292 3804/ 593 2 246 4914
Salutation: Dear Minister/Sr. Ministro
President Rafael Correa
Palacio de Carondelet, García Moreno 1043, entre Chile y Espejo, Quito, Ecuador
Fax: 593 2 258 0714
Messages may also be sent through the Presidency’s official website: http://www.presidencia.gov.ec/contacto.php
Salutation: Dear Mr President/ Sr. Presidente
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/ecuadoreditormiltonchacaguasayjailedagain/