Author Topic: Journalist flees Ecuador to evade prison sentence  (Read 1605 times)

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Offline mayya

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Journalist flees Ecuador to evade prison sentence
« on: September 25, 2013, 10:19:34 AM »
Journalist flees Ecuador to evade prison sentence
Ecuadorean journalist Emilio Palacio, an outspoken critic of President Rafael Correa's government and a columnist for El Universo Newspaper, is seen in this undated handout file photo.
Credit: Reuters/Angel Aguirre/El Universo/Handout/Files

MIAMI | Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:20pm EDT

 (Reuters) - An outspoken critic of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has fled to Miami while a prison sentence against him for libeling the fiery left-wing leader was on appeal.

Emilio Palacio, a former op-ed editor at the El Universo newspaper said on Sunday he left his South American homeland because the government wants him "behind bars."

On July 21, Palacio and three board members of El Universo were sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $40 million fine, over a column that criticized how Correa had handled a police mutiny in September 2010.

A judge ruled the column libeled Correa because it accused the president of ordering troops to fire at a hospital where police were holding him hostage, without warning civilians who were in the building at the time.

The decision adhered to an article from Ecuador's penal code that punishes anyone who "falsely accuses" a public official of a crime. But it was drew pointed criticism from media watchdogs and human rights groups, who said Ecuador has limited press freedoms since Correa, an ally of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, came to power in 2007.

"The criminal conviction of the president's critics is a major setback for free speech in Ecuador." said Human Rights Watch America's director Jose Miguel Vivanco, following the sentence. "Punishing a journalist and directors of a newspaper for 'offending' the president is likely to have a very negative impact on the news media and public debate in Ecuador."

El Universo's lawyers are appealing the verdict, but in an email sent to his supporters on Sunday, Palacio said he had fled to Miami because he feared he would not get a fair hearing from Ecuador's judiciary.

"They wanted to impose a judge who is one of the most intimate friends of the dictator's (Correa's) lawyer," Palacio wrote in his email. He said officials were also pressing new libel charges against him, for describing state television journalists as "fascists" at the service of the government.

Privately owned newspapers and television channels in Ecuador are mostly aligned with the country's opposition.

In a national referendum in May, Correa narrowly secured public support for a law that limits media ownership. It also sets up a panel that will regulate media content.

(Editing by Todd Eastham)

(This article has been modified to correct paragraph 5 to make clear decision adhered to the penal code, not the constitution)


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Re: Journalist flees Ecuador to evade prison sentence
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 12:56:07 PM »
Lol Julian Assange seeks asylum in Ecuador for critisizing the US, while Emilio Palacio flees Ecuador to do to the US for criticizing Correa XD

Offline Riney

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Re: Journalist flees Ecuador to evade prison sentence
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 17:45:36 PM »
Yes, that is funny isis. Another clear showing of the strangeness of Julian Assange having been granted asylum in Ecuador. A nation with it's own freedom of speech problems. He was granted asylum because Ecuador is anti US obviously, not because they shine in freedom of information. 

   Even if Julian Assange could make it to Ecuador, how long before another president gets elected to Ecuador that is pro US and then Assange is booted? All countries change in their stances towards other countries all the time. At some point in time there will be some benefit in trade or whatever for Ecuador to become friendly with the US. If this happens then the asylum status of Assange in Ecuador would be in danger of changing as well.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" Anais Nin .. and yet we must arm ourselves with fear