Chilean Editor Sentenced to Jail after Receiving Press Freedom Award
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) _ Within hours of winning an international press award, magazine editor Juan Pablo Cardenas was convicted Thursday of slandering President Augusto Pinochet and ordered to spend nights in jail for the next three years.
Cardenas, editor of the 10-year-old leftist weekly Analisis, said he was notified of the verdict and sentence by civilian judge Lionel Beraud.
Earlier Thursday, the International Federation of Newspaper Publishers board of directors announced in Istanbul, Turkey, that Cardenas would receive its 1987 Golden Pen of Freedom award.
″The fact that the announcement of this prize coincides with the announcement of such an unjust verdict ... ends up being grotesque and embarrassing for the regime, I believe,″ Cardenas, 38, told The Associated Press. ″We are going to appeal and I am confident that the court will side with us.″
The Istanbul prize announcement said in part: ″Cardenas has paid and is continuing to pay dearly for his devotion to democracy and freedom of expression. He and the staff of his magazine have resistered numerous attempts to silence them, including campaigns of intimidation, the murder of a leading journalist, bans, censorship and imprisonment.″
The board also paid tribute to Jose Carrasco Tapia, the international editor of Analisis who was kidnapped and slain in September.
Cardenas said he expected to be allowed to remain free pending his appeal.
A slander complaint was filed against Cardenas on July 29 by the Interior Ministry on behalf of Pinochet, commander of the army and the country’s ruler since a 1973 coup.
Analisis is strongly critical of the right-wing regime, accusing it of gross violations of human rights and violent political and social repression.
Cardenas has been imprisoned for alleged slander of Chile’s regime three times before - for 19 days in 1973, 20 days in 1984 and 29 days last year. The magazine’s publication has been suspended twice, for several months.
It was most recently shut down for four months, along with four other opposition magazines, and resumed publication Jan. 13.
The Paris-based International Federation of Newspaper Publishers said its award to Cardenas was also recognition of ″the courage and commitment to the values of press freedom of numerous editors and journalists in Chile.″
The federation was founded in 1948 to defend and promote press freedom and contribute to the development of newspaper publishing by fostering communications and contacts among newspaper executives.
Representatives of publishers’ associations from 18 nations attended the Istanbul meeting to make preparations for the federation’s congress to be held in May in Helsinki.