ECUADOR: Journalist convicted on criminal defamation charges

MARCH 13, 2007
Posted: April 5, 2007

Nelson Fueltada, La Gaceta and Radio Latacunga

The Superior Court of the Ecuadorian province of Cotopaxi convicted Fueltada, the Pujilí correspondent for the Latacunga-based daily La Gaceta and Radio Latacunga, on criminal defamation charges. Fueltada was sentenced to 60 days in prison and to pay a fine of US$212.

Pujilí Mayor Marcelo Arroyo Ruiz filled criminal defamation charges against Fueltada in November 2006, the journalist told CPJ. Arroyo argued that the journalist had defamed him in a July 2, 2006, interview with a local official who accused him of corruption.

In January 2007, a Cotopaxi criminal judge found that there was no evidence to convict Fueltada, but Arroyo appealed the case to the Cotopaxi Superior Court, said the journalist. Following the Superior Court’s conviction on March 13, Fueltada also filed an appeal with the Ecuadorian Supreme Court in Quito.

On March 28, hundreds of local journalists and public officials marched in Pujilí in support of Fueltada, according to local press reports.