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Honduras court upholds journalist's 10-year prison sentence for defamation

A child wears a headband reading 'Corruption' as opposition supporters call for the resignation of Honduran President Hernandez following allegations of corruption in Tegucigalpa, 3 June 2015
A child wears a headband reading 'Corruption' as opposition supporters call for the resignation of Honduran President Hernandez following allegations of corruption in Tegucigalpa, 3 June 2015

ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on cpj.org on 15 January 2019.

The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the Honduran Supreme Court's decision to uphold a 2016 ruling sentencing journalist David Romero Ellner to 10 years in prison on criminal defamation charges.

"It is absurd that David Romero Ellner should face a decade in prison simply for his reporting," said CPJ South and Central America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick. "Rather than punishing reporters for doing their jobs, the Honduran government should take action to join the growing international movement to abolish criminal defamation laws and should stop jailing journalists when civil remedies are available."

On January 11, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a lower court's conviction and sentencing on charges that Romero defamed former prosecutor Sonia Inez Gálvez Ferrari in his journalistic work, according to news reports.

Romero's journalistic work has frequently alleged corruption in President Juan Orlando Hernández's administration. In 2015, he reported on alleged corruption in the country's social security administration, including the use of funds from the system to finance Hernández's 2013 presidential campaign.

He will likely be jailed within a week of the sentence, according to reports.

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