Court acquitted 11 rural farmers after six years in prison

Association

On 26th July 2018, the Supreme Court of Justice acquitted 11 campesinos (rural farmers). The activists were convicted of first degree murder, land invasion and other crimes in the context of a violent eviction by police in 2012. The operation is known as the Curuguaty Massacre, which left 17 people dead.

The Court overturned the sentences against the 11 accused, ordering their immediate release as "it had not been proven that they committed the crimes".

Amnesty International welcomed the decision and said

“After six years of fighting for justice in this terrible case, today we finally celebrate the acquittal of 11 campesinos unfairly accused of the death of six police officers, in a case that has shocked both Paraguayan society and the international community. The court’s ruling is a triumph for human rights in Paraguay."

Peaceful Assembly

On 6th August 2018, hundreds of Paraguayans took to the streets to protest against corruption, and protections granted to government officials accused of corruption. The demonstration was organised by students of the Universidad Nacional de Asunción, (National University of Asuncion), who were joined by several organisations and political parties. The demonstrators marched to "Plaza de Armas", located in front of the National Congress, in the capital Asunción. One of the government officials, accused of corruption, Jose Maria Ibañez resigned from the Chamber of Deputies after the mobilisation. 

Expression

The Sindicato de Periodistas de Paraguay (Paraguayan Union of Journalists, SPP) is working on a new system to document attacks to freedom of expression. The system will record threats, harassment and legal persecution, which are usually used to restrict freedom of press in Paraguay.

The data will enable activists to advocate for better public policies to guarantee freedom of press while defending citizens’ right to access to information. The SPP will also promote the creation of a network of journalists throughout the country in order to document cases of violence against them. The union hopes this data will enable activists to react promptly. 

In Paraguay, 17 press workers have been killed since 1989. Most cases remain unsolved and the authors of the crimes remain unpunished.