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Former member of paramilitary group confesses to having killed journalist in Nariño

(FLIP/IFEX) - Jorge Enrique Ríos, a former paramilitary group member known by the alias of "Sarmiento", confessed to having assassinated journalist Flavio Iván Bedoya on 27 April 2001 in the city of Tumaco, in the department of Nariño, southern Colombia.

In testimony given to a human rights prosecutor from the Justice and Peace Unit (responsible for the transitional process of paramilitary groups), "Sarmiento" admitted to having killed Bedoya, who worked for the communist oriented weekly "Voz". The confession followed on that of Guillermo Pérez Alzate, alias "Pablo Sevillano", who in March 2009 also admitted to his participation in the crime.

According to "Sarmiento"'s testimony, the order to execute Bedoya came from "Pablo Sevillano"'s unit because the journalist was presumed to be "collaborating with the FARC (guerilla group)" and because he was believed to have interviewed the guerilla group's leader.

"Sarmiento" is imprisoned in the Itagüí maxiumum security prison, while "Pablo Sevillano" is in a jail in Tampa, Florida, after having been extradited to the United States in 2008.

Several months before he was assassinated the journalist began receiving death threats. He was killed as he stepped down from a city bus.

FLIP welcomes the advances in the investigation into the Bedoya case, within the framework of the Justice and Peace process, and hopes that these confessions lead to appropriate sentences against those responsible for the journalist's death.

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