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REGIONS:

Outrageous denial of justice in the 1998 murder of journalist Norbert Zongo

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has pledged to continue campaigning for justice in the 1998 murder of leading independent journalist Norbert Zongo after learning that the judge in charge of the investigation, Wenceslas Ilboudo, has dismissed the case against the only person ever charged.

"This is an outright scandal, a disgrace," the press freedom organisation said. "After eight years of campaigning, this decision makes the reign of impunity in Burkina Faso official. It is a terrible blow for all those citizens who have ceaselessly demanded to know the truth about this murder."

Reporters Without Borders continued: "This has always been a highly political case. Zongo was killed by members of the presidential guard. François Compaoré, the brother of President Blaise Compaoré, is implicated. The authorities never stopped protecting the killers. The president has got what he always wanted - injustice."

The organisation added: "Despite this decision, we will continue to campaign for justice in this case. We will never forget Norbert Zongo and we will press on tirelessly with our campaign alongside his family and friends."

Judge Ilboudo's decision to dismiss the case against presidential guard member Marcel Kafando - the only person ever charged with Zongo's murder - was issued on 18 July 2006 at the request of the Faso public prosecutor, who claimed there was insufficient evidence against him.

Zongo family lawyer Bénéwendé Sankara said the decision meant the case was now closed and would remain so unless new evidence came to light. He intended to appeal, he added.

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