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APRODEV's representative testifies before a judge

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 9 June 1999, Argentinian citizen Héctor Ricardo Faisal
Fracalossi, the legal representative of the Association for the Defense of
the Truth (Asociacion Pro Defensa de La Verdad, APRODEV), appeared for over
one hour in front of Arturo Vílchez Requejo, Judge of the 20th Lima Criminal
Court. The court is hearing the case, in which Faisal is responding to
charges of posting articles on the Internet which were defamatory to a group
of independent journalists.

**Updates IFEX alerts of 2 June, 28 May, 21 May, 17 May, 20 April and 8
April 1999 and 2 December 1998**

Faisal, accompanied by several bodyguards, arrived at the courthouse at 8:45
a.m. (local time) with his lawyer, Walter Green Ortiz.

Faisal stated: "I am considered a radical in Peru for professional reasons.
I am the legal representative of an Argentinian foundation called APRODEV,
the goal of which is to use cyberspace to disseminate news and ideas, as
well as to create a forum for discussion." Regarding his earnings, Faisal
continued on to say "it comes from contributions received from APRODEV's
head office, which as I have said, is in Argentina. My personal income
amounts to five hundred dollars per month."

When leaving the courthouse, Faisal told the press: "Here I am. If you want
my photo, take as many as you like. I will invite you to have a cigar, I
will talk with all of you and respond to your questions."

Regarding APRODEV, Faisal said, "it is a large organisation. The articles,
which you call defamatory, are the same as those, which are in fact being
published by other Peruvian media. If these gentlemen were not offended by
them, why are they offended now." However, Faisal said nothing specific
about any other publications which are anti-opposition.

According to IPYS, APRODEV's links with the government, particularly
presidential advisor Vladimiro Montesinos, should be examined. Faisal has
denied any relationship with Montesinos or the Peruvian government. He has
also denied the existence of any criminal proceedings in Argentina for which
his extradition would be sought, suggesting that this is a story that has
been invented by "La República."

All that remains now is to wait for the judge to issue his ruling, after
having heard Faisal's testimony. It is hoped that the judge will also decide
the dispute between plaintiffs and the defendant, however there has been
some unofficial information made available from judicial circles that the
judge does not intend to decide this dispute.

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