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IAPA submits investigations of two unsolved journalists' murders to the IACHR

(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is a 23 December 2008 IAPA press release:

IAPA submits two Bolivian journalists' murder cases to Inter-American Commission

With the aim of seeing justice done, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the results of its investigations in Bolivia into the murders of local journalists Juan Carlos Encinas and Carlos Quispe Quispe.

The submissions were made on December 19.

Encinas, 39, was a freelance journalist. On July 29, 2001 a clash erupted between members of two local cooperatives engaged in limestone mining in the Catavi district of the Los Andes province, in Bolivia. Encinas was carrying a video camera and tape recorder to cover the incident. Several shots rang out and he was injured, but the ambulance intended to take him to hospital for treatment took three hours to arrive. He died from internal bleeding. A year earlier, on July 5, 2000, his camera was smashed amid a shoot out as he was covering another incident for the "Enlace" news program broadcast by La Paz television station Canal 21. Eight people were arrested and then released on bail. A court later ordered the arrest of three other people, but now, seven years after the crime, they still remain at large.

Quispe, 31, was a fifth-year communications student at the San Andrés University's School of Social Sciences in La Paz. He had been hired as a trainee at radio station FM 90.7, Radio Municipal in Pucarani, while still at school. On March 27, 2008 a demonstration by 300 people against the local mayor erupted into an invasion and destruction of the radio station, located on the first floor of the city hall. Quispe was identified as a Radio Municipal reporter. He was beaten with sticks and whips. The radio station was destroyed and Quispe died from his wounds two days later. Over six months the case was overseen by five different public prosecutors.

The IAPA maintains that in both cases there was violation of the principles of the American Convention on Human Rights contained in Articles 4 (right to life), 8 and 25 (right to access to justice) and 13 (right to freedom of expression).

With these new Bolivian cases, and in the framework of its Anti-Impunity Project, the IAPA has submitted a total of 22 investigations into murders of journalists since 1997.

The Anti-Impunity Project is funded by the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

For more information on the cases investigated by the IAPA, go to the Web site: http://www.impunidad.com .

Updates the Encinas case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/68929

Updates the Quispe Quispe case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94668

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