Peruvian appeals court reduces prison sentence for journalist convicted of defamation

A Peruvian appeals court has reduced the prison sentence for journalist Paul Garay from three years to 18 months, but has confirmed that he will remain in jail, reported Crónica Viva. The journalist, former director of the program "Polemic" on channel Visión 47 TV and correspondent for radio station La Exitosa, in April had been sentenced to three years in prison for defamaing a prosecutor.

The court's decision on July 27 was announced just days after the Peruvian Parliament eliminated jail time as a punishment for defamation and instead established fines and community service as possible sentences.

The court also upheld the $1,100 fine against the journalist and damages of $7,300 in favor of Agustín López Cruz, the local prosecutor of Coronel Portillo and author of the defamation complaint, explained the Press and Society Institute (IPYS in Spanish).

Garay also has been called to testify against Luis Valdez, former mayor of the town of Coronel Portillo, for the killing of journalist Alberto Rivera in 2004, according to La República.

Luis Peceros, Garay's lawyer, said the defamation sentence is an "abuse of authority," adding that the journalist had been "convicted without proof."