Panama: Ecuadoran newspaper publisher offered asylum

Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli offered asylum to Ecuadoran publisher Carlos Pérez Barriga, one of the owners of the El Universo newspaper. Last week Pérez was sentenced to three years in prison and 26m GBP in fines for defaming Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa. Emilio Palacio, the journalist who penned the editorial that provoked Correa’s libel complaint, has sought asylum in the US. Pérez’s brothers — who are co-owners — are also currently in the United States and reportedly fear returning to Ecuador.

Ecuador: Journalist sentenced to prison flees to Miami

After being sentenced to three years in prison for defamation, an Ecuadorian journalist has fled the country and sought refuge in Miami, according to newspaper reports. Emilio Palacio of El Universo, who was sued for criticising President Rafael Correa, arrived in the United States on 24 August. “I’d have to be blind to not understand that they want me behind bars,” he said in a letter spread via Twitter on 28 August. Meanwhile, El Universo has published a letter directed at President Correa asking him to stop the legal action against the journalist.

Ecuador: Journalist facing jail presents video evidence against president

Columnist Emilio Palacio, who was last month sentenced to three years in prison and fined 40 million USD for calling Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa a “dictator,” presented a video to the district attorney on 18 August that he will use to appeal his sentence. Palacio presented an anonymous video in which Correa orders his agents to take control of police strikes and protests in September. In the video, Correa states that those responsible should be “shot in the chest for treason”. Palacio said the video contradicts the president’s original testimony that he did not order the military to fire on protesting police officers.