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Detention order against Alejandra Matus annulled, she can now return to Chile

(IPYS/IFEX) - The Fifth Chamber of the Santiago Court of Appeals has unanimously accepted the appeal filed by journalist Alejandra Matus' defense councel. The court annulled the order of detention Matus was facing, in effect clearing the way for the author of the "El Libro Negro de la Justicia Chilena" ("The Black Book of Chilean Justice") to return to Chile at any time.

The appeal was presented on Friday 29 June 2001, after Presiding Justice Rubén Ballesteros stayed the case filed against Matus for violating Article 6(b) of the State Security Law (Ley de Seguridad Interior del Estado) but upheld the detention order against her until the appeals court gave its ruling.

Legal proceedings against Matus were launched in April 1999 when Supreme Court Justice Servando Jordán filed a suit for "insult" ("desacato") which resulted in the confiscation of her book within twenty-four hours.

Despite this good news, Matus' book "El Libro Negro de la Justicia Chilena" is still prohibited from being circulated in Chile. This prohibition will stand until the same court rules on the stay of the cause by Justice Ballesteros, which was subsequently appealed on Saturday 30 June by the plaintiff, Jordán.

The Fifth Chamber, made up of Magistrate Sergio Valenzuela Patiño and Lawyers Oscar Herrera and Hugo Llanos, voted unanimously in favour of Matus.

In a statement to the daily "La Tercera", the journalist said that she was "very happy and pleasantly surprised, especially because the decision was unanimous." She added that she would return to Chile "as soon as possible, in the next few days, after taking care of some personal matters."

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