New York, February 13, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sent separate letters today to Peru’s minister of justice, Fausto Alvarado Dodero, requesting information about the status of journalist Juan de Mata Jara Berrospi, who was sentenced in 1994 to 20 years in prison on charges of collaborating with terrorists.
On July 10, 1993, Jara Berrospi was arrested for having connections with El Diario, a newspaper that President Alan García’s government had banned in 1989 because of alleged links to the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) terrorist group. According to CPJ sources, no one testified against Jara Berrospi at the trial, which was held in secret by an anonymous panel of judges. During the trial, the journalist denied any involvement with the terrorist group.
Prior to his arrest, Jara Berrospi had worked for several years as a producer for the regional Radio Comas and had written for the local dailies El Heraldo Huanuqueño and El Informador. Jara Berrospi also wrote for El Diario in 1987, two years before the paper was officially banned.
With the exception of Jara Berrospi, all other individuals who were arrested in 1993 for allegedly having connections with El Diario have either been released or pardoned.