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Peru journalists found guilty of libel, handed 2-year suspended sentence
Juan Carlos Tafur (left) and former minister Antonio Ketin Vidal (Photo: Peru21/Archive)
By Manuel Vigo
June 6, 2012
Journalists Juan Carlos Tafur and Roberto More, of Diario 16, were given a 2-year suspended sentence on Tuesday, after being found guilty of libel against former Minister of Interior Antonio Ketin Vidal.
Vidal sued the pair for publishing information in January 2011 that claimed to link the former minister to the Sanchez Paredes family, who were being investigated for money laundering at the time, Peru21 reported.
Aside from the suspended sentence, Tafur and More were also ordered to pay Vidal 60 thousand soles in damages.
However, Tafur's defense claimed the trial suffered from procedural irregularties that prevented the defendants from presenting arguments in their defense. Tafur said he and More would appeal the ruling.
“My attorney believes [the trial] has a number of inconsistencies easily refuted in a higher court," said Tafur, according to Peru21.
Furthermore, Carlos Rivera, lawyer for the defendants, said the information that was published had been based on a police document, and was not, as Vidal claimed, part of a “systematic campaign of libel and disregard.”
Vidal was the former head of the DINCOTE, Peru’s anti-terrorism unit, and led operations that resulted in the capture of Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman, in 1992.
Vidal partly inspired the character of Augustin Rejas in ‘The Dancer Upstairs’, which was later adapted into a film of the same title, directed by John Malkovich.
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