Journalist accused of criminal defamation released on parole

DECEMBER 19, 2006
Posted: December 20, 2006

Ángel Mario Ksheratto, Cuarto Poder

Ksheratto, columnist for the daily Cuarto Poder, was released on parole in the southern Chiapas state after 41 days in prison, the Mexican press reported. He was detained on November 9 for allegedly violating a condition of bail stemming from a 2003 criminal defamation suit.

Local judge Walter Constantino Vleeschower ordered Ksheratto’s release, according to news reports. Newly elected Chiapas Governor Juan Sabines paid the columnist’s bail of 33,500 pesos (US$ 3,094) in an effort to show his commitment to press freedom, reported the local press. As part of his parole conditions, Ksheratto was ordered to make a weekly court appearance to sign documentation before a judge in Cintalapa, 65 miles (120 kilometers) from his home.

On November 9, Chiapas state police detained Ksheratto outside his home in the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. He was placed at a maximum security prison in the town of Cintalapa. Ksheratto denied violating the condition. On February 4, the columnist had been detained and held for 18 days on a similar bail violation allegation.

The underlying case against Ksheratto stems from two August 2002 articles on alleged irregularities in a state-run agency responsible for school construction. The columnist alleged that a public official had used state money to build a house. Ksheratto was arrested on January 9, 2003, after the official filed a complaint; he was released on bail the next day.