Biotech Updates

Peruvian Biologist's Defamation Conviction Overturned

January 14, 2011

The case of Peruvian biologist Ernesto Bustamante Donayre, which has attracted attention in the global science community, has ended with the overturning of his conviction.

The conflict started in 2007 when Antonietta Ornella Gutiérrez Rosati published a report about the presence of GM maize in Peru, where there were still no regulations on planting GM crops. In response to Gutiérrez' report, Bustamante submitted an opinion article that stated Gutiérrez' reports to be "absurdly improbable" and based on "gross procedural errors." He also asked Gutiérrez to submit the report for peer review. This led Gutiérrez to file a defamation case against Bustamante, where he was comdemned guilty last April 2010.

The National Institute for Agrarian Innovation (INIA) in Lima tried to replicate Gutiérrez's study but has failed to find GM maize, despite examining 162 samples, more than 3 times the amount of samples in Gutiérrez' study.

Last month, Bustamante's convinction was overturned because the appeal judge found that a lower court had not demonstrated that Bustamante had sufficient motivation to harm or defame his alleged victim.

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