Lawyers affirm that the raid on Azul FM and Álvarez’s house was a "absolute excess"

The search warrant requested by prosecutor Mariana Alfaro and signed by judge Patricia Rodríguez to the studios of radio station Azul FM and the house of journalist Ignacio Álvarez after the broadcast of audios linked to the complaint of gang rape, for which the past Thursday three men were charged, it was seen as an “absolute excess” according to three legal specialists.

The lawyers Ruben Correa Freitas, Martín Risso and Juan Fagúndez agreed that the request of the prosecutor Mariana Alfaro and the endorsement of Judge Rodríguez went against the “guarantees” that Uruguay, as a State of law, must guarantee to any journalist who exercises his work. The professionals agreed, consulted by The Observerthat in this case the action of justice was unwise.

“It seems to me that it was an absolute excess, that a raid should not have been carried out, that it violates important international guidelines and criteria. The prosecutor was wrong and the judge was wrong,” said constitutionalist Martín Risso. “Journalists have the right to preserve the anonymity of their sources. That is where the prosecutor and the judge made a mistake. There is no doubt that they made a mistake,” he insisted.

Meanwhile, constitutional law professor Ruben Correa Freitas explained that, by law, “the independence of journalists must always be protected,” which, in his opinion, did not happen in this situation. “I claim the sacred right of the most unrestricted freedom of expression of thought, which is key to the democratic state and the rule of law, which goes hand in hand with freedom of the press. There is freedom to express thought, but the limit is the morality, the customs and the rights of others”.

Correa Freitas mentioned article 29 of the Uruguayan constitution, which refers to the “widest freedom of the press”, to underline that Álvarez’s right was violated as a result of the police intervention. “I am very concerned about the problem of the raid on Azul FM and on the journalist’s private home. I think we are at the limit in relation to freedom of the press. It causes me great concern because in a state of law and in a democratic country like Uruguay, the freedom of the press and of the media – radio, television, newspapers – must be protected and protected. In addition, there is a right that all journalists have, which is to keep their sources who give them the information secret, ” Indian.

The lawyer maintained that although he is “respectful” and “careful” with justice, the measure was “inconvenient” for him. Instead, he believes that it would have been preferable to summon him to testify. “I think that the raid is not possible, unless the justice system was looking for another type of crime,” he added.

The situation brought lawyer Juan Fagúndez back to the times of the dictatorship and on his Twitter account he wrote: “Search warrant for a radio station looking for material from a journalistic chronicle. Not only does it take me back to the 70s but it is a crime.”

This was exemplified, for his part, by Risso, who compared the episode with other events that occurred in Venezuela and Nicaragua: “What was done was an absolute excess. These things happen in the Nicaragua of (Daniel) Ortega, not in Uruguay. It was horrible and cannot be justified.

The specialists recalled that journalists have the “right to preserve the anonymity of their sources” and insisted that the judge’s decision attempted to corrupt that norm. “That search warrant for me can even become a crime. It is illegal for one to give a search (in those conditions). Now everyone is looking at the prosecutor. She can ask for a basket of black eggs if she wants. He The issue is the judge who gives it to him. This cannot happen again. It is very serious,” concluded Fagúndez.

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