On July 2, 2004, the Inter-American Human Rights Court overturned the guilty verdict issued by a criminal court against the La Nación reporter Mauricio Herrera Ulloa, ruling that it was incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights. The judgment against Herrera and La Nación, upheld on January 24, 2001 by the Third Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, held that the journalist was guilty of four counts of libel against Félix Przedborki, the former honorary ambassador for Costa Rica to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Herrera reported on articles published in the European press concerning a number of controversies involving the former ambassador and called his conduct into question. Herrera was sentenced to pay a fine of 120 times the daily minimum wage, as well as 60 million Costa Rican colons (approximately $100.000) in compensation. La Nación was found guilty in civil court as a co-defendant. The newspaper was also ordered to publish the conclusion of the court ruling and delete the links on its web page between the last name Przedborski and the media publications that brought the suit. In the place of these links, La Nación was to set up others connecting the former ambassador’s last name to the substantive provisions of the judgment. In addition, the journalist’s name was to have been entered into the Criminal Offenders Registry. The Inter-American Court, underscored the importance of the press in a democracy, and pointed out that persons involved in public matters of public interest are subject to greater scrutiny and run the risk of being criticized. Moreover, it held that the standard of accuracy required under Costa Rican legislation is excessive and unduly limits freedom of speech. The high court judges emphasized that Herrera satisfied the requirement to corroborate his reporting when he demonstrated the existence of the articles concerning the former ambassador published in the European press. This decision determined that the body of legal writing throughout the Americas holds that accurate or neutral reporting allows statements or information attributed to third parties to be reprinted, provided that they are accurate. The Court based its decision on the European Court of Human Rights precedent in Thoma vs. Luxemburg, that “…punishment of journalists for participating in the dissemination of the statements made by third parties would seriously threaten the contribution by the press to debates on questions of public interest.” The Court also found that the right to appeal in Costa Rica is overly restricted and fails to meet the requirements for appeals laid down in the Treaty. Accordingly, Costa Rica was ordered to amend its legislation within a term not to exceed six months. In a concurring opinion, the Chief Justice, Dr. Sergio García Ramírez, indicated that criminal prosecution of matters of speech is an unnecessary response by a democratic society and called for its decriminalization. As part of efforts to bring perpetrators to justice, the Office of the Public Prosecutor has made significant advances in the investigation into the murder of the journalist, Parmenio Medina Pérez, felled by three gunshots on July 7, 2001, near his home in San Miguel de Santo Domingo, Heredia. A businessman, Omar Chaves Mora, and a priest, Minor Calvo Aguilar, the suspected masterminds of the murder, remain in custody. In the last couple of months, the police also arrested Jorge Castillo, a sports entrepreneur, as well as Juan Ramón Hernández, a mechanic, charging them with the murder. Luis Aguirre Jaime, aka El Indio, was already charged as the gunman, and Andrés Chaves Matarrita has been charged as an accomplice. John Gutiérrez Ramírez and Danny Smith, who are also in custody, are being investigated for acting as go-betweens for the killers and the masterminds. The prosecution has named César Murillo, aka Nicho as another of the gunman. Murillo was killed by the police while attempting to rob a bank together with Aguirre and Chaves. The case turns on whether the prosecution can finish transcribing thousands of hours of wiretaps, and it may go to trial by the end of the year. The journalist had received threats related to his work as the producer of the radio program, “La Patada,” and shots had been fired at his home. In another case, the murder trial for the death of a journalist, Ivannia Mora Varela, is set to begin. In this case, it appears that the motive was unrelated to the victim's journalistic activities. The police have arrested a businessman, Eugenio Millot Lasala as the suspected mastermind and Edward Serna Molina, Freddy Alexander Cortés and Nelson López Giraldo as the suspected gunmen. Edgardo Martínez has been accused of acting as a go-between. In the legislative sphere, the special commission on freedom of speech established by the Costa Rican Congress unanimously approved an amendment modifying existing legal restrictions placed on the press. However, there is a notable lack of will to implement the amendments. While the wording on freedom of speech adopted by the commission represents an advance, it leaves much to be desired. Moreover, in light of the judgment handed down by the Inter-American Human Rights Court in the Herrera case, the amendments proposed in the bill appear to be insufficient. Recent corruption scandals revealed by the press have encouraged the public to demand greater freedom of speech. On October 12, a mass anti-corruption demonstration took place, motivated in large part by support for an independent media.