Ecuador: Journalist accused of libel faces 10 million USD fine

Ecuadorian journalist Peter Tavra Franco, who was sentenced to six months in prison for libel on 19 July, now faces a 10 million USD fine. The charges were presented by siblings Milton and Mónica Carrera, after Tavra published a story in the newspaper El Universo in February 2009 in which he narrates the plaintiff’s escape after being arrested for human trafficking from Ecuador into the United States. The Carreras claimed that the story’s publication caused “great damage to their honour, public image and prestige”, while Tavra asserted he had “used police documents” that established cause for the arrest. In a separate case in the country, radio journalist Freddy Aponte is facing a third conviction in a lawsuit for slander filed by the former mayor of Loja, José Bolívar Castillon.