firm criminal conviction [...]. In any case, this sanction did not disappear, but its execution was suspended"
which caused serious damage to the rights of the victims and society as a whole.
B.

State

7.
The State maintained that the process was pursued due to the publication of the article called
"No a las mentiras", published on February 6, 2011 in the newspaper "El Universo", in which the author referred
to the then President Correa as "dictator" and "accused him of committing crimes against humanity", for which
the affected party requested on February 28 "that a preparatory proceedings for the document be carried by
the Provincial Prosecutor's Office of Guayas".
8.
It indicated that Ecuador has a normative framework compatible with inter-American
standards and that "[i]n the domestic sphere a criminal proceeding was carried out for the commission of a
crime that was fully established in the domestic legal system and that it is not contrary to the American
Convention. Also, the process was respectful of the rights of the parties and concluded to convict those involved;
subsequently, this conviction was archived because the affected party pardoned the sentence imposed, as well
as cancelled the monetary damage compensation ordered by the judgment, for which reason, the ruling was
never executed." "In addition, it has been proven that the petitioners have never stopped expressing
themselves freely, since to date [...] they have freely exercised the right enshrined in Article 13 of the
Convention."
9.
It stated that the alleged victims, during the criminal proceedings instituted against them for
the aforementioned criminal offense, were able to exercise their right to defense, and presented remedies and
appeals that they had considered "pertinent," which included "several recusals". The State argued that "[t]hese
actions were heard by competent judges and courts." In addition, it indicated that they had the right to be heard
and that "the judges and courts, when deciding their case, considered all the elements presented and, after
conducting the respective analysis, concluded that the criminal offense of serious slanderous insult was
perpetrated by the petitioners against the complainant."
10.
It alleged that they were tried by "competent judges and tribunals in accordance with legally
established procedures", that "they belonged to the [j]udicial [f]unction complying with the requirements
provided by law," that the Ecuadorian regulations "guarantee the independence of the [j]udicial [f]unction",
and that the judges were impartial subjectively and objectively. It also indicated that the alleged victims "were
heard, within a reasonable time" and that "[the right to] the presumption of innocence was not violated."
Regarding the evidence requested by the alleged victims that were not admitted, the State said that a large part
of them were presented extemporaneously, some "repeated" and "the judge applying the rule of sound
criticism, admitted to processing those pertinent to the case". It concluded that "due process was respected" at
all times.
11.
The State argued that the petitioners had an extraordinary protection action, which
constituted an appropriate remedy for the claims; in this sense, it argued that if there was a violation of rights
in the decision of the criminal proceeding by which they had been prosecuted, they were entitled to file an
extraordinary appeal for protection, but "they decided not to do so, a situation that cannot be attributed to the
State "
III.

FACTUAL ANALYSIS

A.

Context

12.
During the period of 2007-2017 the IACHR and its Office of the Special Rapporteur for
Freedom of Expression (hereinafter "the Office of the Special Rapporteur") expressed its concern regarding a
series of acts and State measures that deviate from the international standards on freedom of expression. In
the same way, concern was expressed on several occasions for a speech made by high authorities that
stigmatized journalists and media that maintained a critical editorial line; as a result, several journalists and

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