Call for Release of Milton Chacaguasay
International PEN renews its call for the release of La Verdad editor Milton Chacaguasay Flores, who has been imprisoned since November 2008 for allegedly libeling a judge. Sentenced to 10 months in prison on November 15, 2008, Chacaguasay has now served over half of his term and is therefore reportedly eligible for early release. PEN believes that Chacaguasay’s conviction and imprisonment violates his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Ecuador is a state party. PEN therefore calls for his immediate release and for the decriminalization of libel and other press offenses in the country.
On November 15, 2008, a criminal court in the southwestern province of El Oro sentenced Milton Chacaguasay Flores, editor and director of the weekly newspaper La Verdad, based in Machala, southern Ecuador, to 10 months in prison for allegedly libeling a judge. The judge claimed that Chacaguasay had accused him of corruption in a report published in La Verdad in September 2007. According to the editor, the report in question was not written by him or his staff but by a third party who had paid for its publication. The piece reportedly requested that the National Judiciary Council review a sentence issued by the judge, who was not named, and which is widely believed to be unfair.
Chacaguasay was acquitted of the charges in May 2008 but was found guilty on appeal before a different court on November 15, 2008, and sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment. In February 2008 the same court had given the editor an eight-month prison sentence for allegedly libeling the leader of the Christian Social Party, whom Chacaguasay had reportedly linked to corruption in Machala municipality.
Chacaguasay was arrested and jailed on November 30, 2008, and since December has been serving his 10-month sentence in a maximum security prison in Quito. As he has now served more than half of his sentence, he is reportedly eligible to be considered for early release for good behavior.
Write A Letter
- Protesting the fact that La Verdad editor Milton Chacaguasay Flores has remained imprisoned since November 2008 for allegedly libeling a judge;
- Expressing the belief that his conviction and detention violates his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Ecuador is a state party;
- Pointing out that Chacaguasay has served more than half of his 10-month sentence and is now eligible to be considered for early release for good behavior, and requesting that he be released immediately.
- Urging the Ecuadorian authorities to decriminalize press offences in line with article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Send Your Letter To
President Rafael Correa
Palacio de Carondelet
García Moreno 1043
Entre Chile y Espejo
Fax: +593 2 258 0714
Minister Gustavo Jalk
Ministro de Justicia y Derechos Humanos
Av. Amazonas 4545 y Atahualpa
Fax: +593 2 246 4971
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative of Ecuador in your country if possible.
Please check with PEN if sending appeals after June 30, 2009: ftw [at] pen.org