Peruvian biologist’s defamation conviction overturned

A defamation case that hinges on a dispute over the presence of genetic modification in Peruvian maize crops, and that has attracted international attention, has moved back to square one — with a twist.

Biologist Ernesto Bustamante Donayre was last April found guilty of defamation — a criminal offence in Peru — for publicly criticizing a report published by a fellow biologist. Last month, however, the conviction was overturned: the appeal judge found that a lower court had not demonstrated that Bustamante had sufficient motivation to harm or defame his alleged victim. A recent government study of the crops in question may shape the outcome of any subsequent proceedings, Bustamante says.

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