The journalist was arrested on Monday by members of the National Police and held overnight pending Tuesday’s verdict, the Peruvian press said. Suffering from high blood pressure, Carrascal fainted before judge Miranda read the sentence, according to the local press group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS).
The journalist was taken to a local hospital, and later transferred to San Humberto penitentiary to serve his sentence, IPYS said. Carrascal has appealed the decision, Quispe told CPJ.
“The decision to imprison Carrascal on defamation charges
Nor Oriente has harshly criticized Peruvian authorities following violent clashes between security forces and Amazonian Indians fighting against oil and mining projects on their native lands. Dozens were killed in the standoff, including more than 20 police officers, news reports said. Journalists in Bagua told CPJ that they believe Carrascal’s imprisonment is related to the paper’s coverage on the conflict, which favored the indigenous struggle.
There is growing international consensus that journalists
should not be jailed for criminal defamation. In November, the Argentine
criminal defamation provisions in the penal code. In April 2009,
Laws that criminalize speech are incompatible with the
rights established under Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights,
Despite growing accord among international bodies that civil remedies provide adequate redress for press offenses, outdated criminal defamation laws remain on the books in Peru. CPJ believes that civil, not criminal, law provides the appropriate redress in cases of defamation.