Court cases involving journalists and the media, as well as restrictions on news coverage in courtrooms, continued to pose obstacles to press freedom during the last six months. Still pending is the legal dispute between the federal government and the Puerto Rican government over a February 10, 2006, assault by FBI agents on Puerto Rican reporters covering an FBI raid. The case is still before the federal court in San Juan and the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. In late September, federal court judge José Fusté dismissed two lawsuits filed by the Puerto Rican Department of Justice against federal authorities for failing to cooperate with its investigations into the September 23, 2005, death of independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, as well as attacks on journalists by 10 FBI agents. Judge Fusté stated that the federal government has a compelling interest in protecting its investigative methods. He also claimed that the assaulted journalists had broken the FBI’s security perimeter. The journalists denied that any such perimeter had been established. However, the Puerto Rican Civil Rights Commission prepared its report on the assaults and concluded that the FBI had violated freedom of the press in Puerto Rico and the basic civil rights of the individuals targeted in the raid, and that the FBI had not established a perimeter to let journalists know how far they could go. Other incidents that had an impact on press freedom: On October 7, the defense attorney for photojournalist Humberto Trías moved to dismiss the case stemming from a disturbance at the Puerto Rican Capitol Building during a tribute event on March 29, 2006. Trías was charged with assaulting a police officer. The hearing will be held on March 26. On January 11, Janet Cortés, a Superior Court judge in Bayamón, scheduled a pretrial hearing for October 15, 2007 in the lawsuit filed against police by photojournalist Xavier Araújo and El Nuevo Día newspaper. She also ordered the Justice Department to turn over documents and evidence in the case. Araújo was assaulted and arrested by police while covering an abduction at a shopping center in December 2005. Araújo and El Nuevo Día claim that police used excessive force and violated press freedom in preventing them from covering the incident. The Justice Department, following its own investigation, claimed that the photojournalist verbally and physically assaulted an agent who allegedly fell into him by accident. On January 23, the Puerto Rican Journalists Association (ASPPRO) called on the Environmental Quality Council to release a technical report on the environmental impact statement for a controversial hotel construction project along a beach in Piñones, a neighborhood in the town of Loíza. The council had refused to release the environmental impact statement to the press on the grounds that it was related to a pending lawsuit. ASPPRO said it was willing to go to court to have the document released. On January 29, ASPPRO condemned the refusal of San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini to answer questions from El Nuevo Día reporter Gloria Ruiz Kuilan during a mayoral event. The other journalists covering the event reportedly left in solidarity with the reporter. ASPPRO criticized Santini for his “personal position” against Ruiz Kuilan, who is assigned to cover the San Juan Mayor’s Office. On March 12, the Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in favor of prosecutor Iris Meléndez, who had been awarded $1.8 million in damages in a libel case against El Vocero newspaper. The court stated in its ruling that the press and Martha Marrero, who accused Meléndez of sexual harassment, acted with actual malice by spreading false allegations about the prosecutor. Also upheld was the order to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees. This case dates back to 1991.