Human Rights Watch calls on Ecuador to repeal criminal insult laws

Human Rights Watch asked the Ecuadorian government to repeal all insult and defamation laws against public officials, the New York-based human rights organization announced.

On Monday, Nov. 14, Human Rights Watch and the Center for the Study of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information at the Argentine University of Palermo presented an amicus curiae brief to the Constitutional Court of Ecuador arguing that Article 230 of the Ecuadorian Penal Code on insult laws violates international human rights standards adopted by the Andean country.

Human Rights Watch issued the amicus brief in support of the case Fundamedios presented to the Constitutional Court on May 25 arguing that Article 230 is unconstitutional and should be decriminalized. The Article reads, "He who offends the President of the Republic or someone else in the executive branch with threats, attacks or slander will be sentenced between six months and two years in prison and a fine between $16 and $77."

The Article runs counter to the American Convention on Human Rights that Ecuador ratified in 1977, which protects freedom of expression.