Opposition journalist sentenced to jail in Honduras

Radio and TV Globo journalist David Romero (C), leaves the court in Tegucigalpa, on November 13, 2015 after being found guilty of six charges of defamation (AFP Photo/Orlando Sierra)

Tegucigalpa (AFP) - A Honduran opposition journalist who was sentenced Friday to more than eight years in prison for "insulting" a prosecutor's wife denounced what he said was retaliation from the president for uncovering public embezzlement.

The lawyer for David Romero, director of the opposition broadcaster Globo, said they would appeal the verdict "because this citizen did not get a fair judgment."

The Honduran court found Romero guilty of six counts of "insulting" the wife of a prosecutor and ordered him to prison for eight years and four months, the lawyer, Darwin Garcia, told reporters.

Romero, who turned up to court surrounded by a hundred supporters, said the sentence had been handed down against him "in response to a request by President Juan Orlando Hernandez, (who wants) to see us stripped of our liberties."

He asserted the government pressured the court to send him to prison as retaliation for him uncovering embezzlement of public money seen as implicating Hernandez.

That allegation prompted Honduras prosecutors in February to open an investigation into $330 million that went missing from Social Security accounts.

Hernandez subsequently admitted that $94,000 of that money ended up financing his 2013 election campaign that brought him to power. He denied knowing about the embezzlement.

The revelation prompted thousands of Hondurans to take to the streets in protests to demand the president step down and the creation of an international body to probe corruption.