Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Peru: Editor, journalist get suspended prison sentences

Source: IFEX

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 5 June 2012, the editor of newspaper "Diario 16", Juan Carlos Tafur, and journalist Roberto More were sentenced by Judge José Rolando Chávez Hernández of Lima's 12th Criminal Court to a two-year suspended prison sentence and the payment of 60 thousand nuevos soles (approx. US$ 22,200) to retired general Antonio Ketín Vidal Herrera, who sued them for alleged aggravated slander, in a trial that was rife with complaints about due process. This took place in Lima.

Vidal reported Tafur and More because of a report published by the paper on 12 January 2011, linking him to the Sánchez Paredes family, well known for its connections to drug trafficking. At the time, Vidal had been thinking of running for vice-president for the party of former president Alejandro Toledo.

Tafur's defense, lead by the Legal Defense Institute (IDL), stated several times that the process had been plagued with procedural irregularities, such as preventing the accused from presenting arguments for their defense and the fact that Vidal's lawsuit had been accepted by the court three months after it was presented. The lawyers have confirmed that they will appeal the sentence.

On 7 May, IPYS expressed its concern about these allegations in a letter sent to the President of the Judiciary, César San Martín. A few days ago the Investigations and Anti-corruption Unit of the Magistracy's Control Office (OCMA) requested that Judge Chávez Hernández should be fined 10% of his salary because of the irregularities during the trial.

IPYS regrets the judicial decision that condemns journalists Juan Carlos Tafur and Roberto More and hopes that the other courts that eventually see the case act with more justice.