Expatica news

Wrongly jailed Spanish journalist freed

14 April 2004

LIMA – A Spanish journalist detained by mistake in Peru for ten days was expected to be released Wednesday, prison authorities said.

Isabel Gomez Benito, who arrived in the Peruvian capital during her Holy Week holiday to Cuzco and the Inca capital of Machu Picchu, was arrested after the Peruvian courts confused her with a suspected drug dealer.

Gomez Benito, who has the same name as the accused drug dealer, spent the first 48 hours in a Lima women’s prison without anything to eat or drink.

The reporter, who is expected to be released Wednesday, will write a book on her experiences, which she told Spanish news agency EFE were “very difficult.”

The Spanish journalist is director of the Communications Department of the Autonomous University of Bucaramanga in Colombia and co-editor of a newspaper called Quince.

Gomez Benito compared her experience in Peru to the protagonist of Alan Parker’s 1978 movie “Midnight Express” which is based on the real story of a young US citizen who was jailed in Turkey for drug trafficking.

She also said Peru’s National Ombudsman’s Office has “acted exceptionally” and that despite the situation, she is lucky to be a foreigner and a journalist since her erroneous imprisonment caused a stir in Peru.

“It may be an absurdity, but the fact is I’m imprisoned in Peru for drug trafficking,” she said.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news