A provincial court in Quito has denied the appeal of former president Rafael Correa in a defamation suit against journalist Martín Pallares. Tuesday’s ruling upholds a July decision by Judge Fabricio Carrasco that an article by Pallares did not harm Correa’s reputation.
In his article on the 4Pelegatos website, Pallares mocked Correa’s defense of former minister of electricity Alecksey Mosquera who was arrested for receiving a $1 million bribe from Odebrecht. Pallares wrote that the then-president’s argument was “absurd,” comparing it to a burglary in which the intention is to prove that the stolen merchandise was indeed owned by the victim.
Correa’s suit had demanded that Pallares be jailed for 30 days and pay a fine for “uttering expressions of discredit” against the former president.
In the appeal, Correa’s attorney Caupolicán Ochoa claimed that Carrasco had erred in rejecting Correa’s claim. “The primary intent was educational, to show that the right to free expression does not protect slanderers, defamers, detractors and the honor of others,” he said.
Following the judges’ decision to uphold the original verdict, Ochoa said it set a “terrible precedent for Ecuador.”
After Tuesday’s ruling, Pallares posted, “Free!” on his Twitter account.