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Journalist found dead a week after being kidnapped

(C-Libre/IFEX) - 16 May 2012 - Journalist Alfredo Villatoro was found dead on 15 May 2012 in a neighbourhood in the southern part of Tegucigalpa, seven days after being kidnapped.

Around 8 p.m. a couple living in the Las Uvas neighbourhood told police they had found a body. Journalists, camera operators and police who arrived at the scene identified the victim as being the Radio HRN coordinator who was kidnapped on 9 May.

At the scene of the crime, Villatoro's body was found dressed in a uniform similar to that of the "Cobra" special operations police squad, with a red bandana on his face. According to forensic investigations he was shot twice in the head and had been struck in the face.

News of Villatoro's murder spread quickly through the national media and dozens of journalists showed up at the morgue in a show of solidarity for their colleague, condemning his murder. The journalists' union has called for justice not only in this case, but in that of every journalist who has been killed in the country and whose case remains unsolved.

On 16 May at 8:40 a.m. President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, in a press conference, announced there will be a reward of 3 million lempiras (approx. US$157,000) for information on those responsible for Villatoro's murder.

On the same day, it emerged that one of the suspects in the kidnapping of Villatoro had been captured in the city of Danli, El Paraiso, in eastern Honduras. As reported in Proceso Digital, this individual was arrested because they are thought to be responsible for sending messages to the Villatoro family about negotiating the journalist's release.

Since 2010, 21 journalists have been killed in Honduras, and the two most recent cases have taken place in the country's capital.
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