Penal Chamber judges of the National Court of Justice (CNJ for its Spanish acronym), Wilson Merino, Paul Iñiguez and Jorge Blum took an hour and forty minutes to ratify the sentences of the first and second ruling by condemning three newspaper directors to jail and paying a fine of $40 million for libelling accusations against the Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa.
After the resolution was known, Correa thanked his lawyers Gutemberg and Alembert Vera, to his family, ministers, assemblymen and the citizens that attended the Court and supported him through the social networks. The hearing lasted close to 15 hours.
“Thank God that the truth has prevailed and we’ve been allowed to overcome this tough challenge successfully,” Correa told journalists, after accusing El Universo of orchestrating a campaign to destroy his reputation.
The ruling of the judges will draw strong criticism from rights groups, which have complained Correa’s hard stance against the media for several months. Joffre Campaña, lawyer of El Universo, stated “It’s obvious that the President has a very clear goal, to finish with independent media, not only in Ecuador, but he also wants this to reverberate all over America.” (AV)