Ecuador’s Correa Issues Pardons Amid Free Speech Concerns

Rafael Correa

Today in Latin America

Top Story— Facing international accusations that his government was cracking down on press freedoms, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa announced Monday that he would issue pardons in two controversial criminal libel cases. Last year, Ecuadorian courts ordered a columnist and three executives at El Universo newspaper to pay a $42 million fine and serve 3 years in prison for editorials they published criticizing the president. The columnist, Emilio Palacio, later fled the country to seek political asylum, as did a judge connected to the case who says the government bribed her. Correa cast the pardon as a victory, saying,“We have shown that you can sue and beat the abusive media” and said that the libel cases showed that powerful media companies are accountable to the public. Correa also said he would pardon two authors who published a book alleging that the president’s brother had won millions in state contracts during Correa’s government. They were later fined $1 million each.

Read more from the Miami Herald.

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Image: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador @ Flickr.

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