The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has condemned Costa Rica for acts committed in 2005 in violation of the right to freedom of thought and expression against reporters Ronald Moya Chacón and Freddy Parrales Chaves.
On announcing the sentence, Chief Justice Ricardo Pérez Manrique explained that the State must annul the attribution of civil liability to Freddy Parrales Chaves and Ronald Moya Chacón imposed by the sentence issued on January 10, 2007, by the Criminal Court of the Second Judicial Circuit of San José, confirmed by the sentence issued on December 20, 2007, by the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.
Sanctions were imposed on Moya Chacón and Parrales Chaves for the publication, on December 17, 2005, of a report in the newspaper La Nación in which they mentioned the alleged irregularities in the control of liquor imports through the border with Panama.
One of the police officers involved in the investigation, who went by the name of Trejos, filed a complaint for libel and defamation, as well as a civil action against the journalists.
The International Court also argued that the information printed stemmed from an official source, which at that time was the Minister of Security, which spared the reporters from seeking additional verifications.
In a separate case, Uruguay's opposition Frente Amplio Senator Charles Carrera filed this week a complaint before the same court against Interior Minister Luis Alberto Heber for political persecution.
According to El País, the lawmaker denounced the situation of persecution and harassment he has allegedly been suffering for the last month. Carrera also claimed that such persecution was the result of his Congressional activity and began a few days after he led one of the most scandalous denunciations of alleged corruption in this period of government (the transfer of the port of Montevideo to the company Katoen Natie). Carrera also requested a probe be launched into the number of murders in the country, which have skyrocketed.
The senator also argued that the barriers between branches of government had been unduly violated and the Executive and Legislative acted as a single center of power exercised by the [ruling] coalition (...) in an abusive manner.”
The Court is yet to decide whether Carrera's filing is admissible.