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Only one perpetrator of journalist's 1998 murder imprisoned, another missing, mastermind still unidentified

(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is a 17 May 2007 IAPA press release:


Miami (17 May 2007) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) called upon all print media readers in the hemisphere to sign a public letter to the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, urging him to ensure justice in the 10 March 1998 murder of journalist José Carlos Mesquita.

Mesquita was killed with two shots to the head as he exited a television station he owned in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondõnia state. In September 2003, Orico Rodríguez was given a 16-year prison sentence as one of the perpetrators of the crime. At the same time, another man, known as "Nivaldo", was accused in relation to the murder; he remains in hiding. Another suspect, Gerim Ferreira Lacerda, was killed in April 1999.

Although Rodríguez is in prison, the mastermind behind the crime has never been identified, and the investigation has stalled. The general director of the state civil police (Policía Civil del Estado), Carlos Eduardo Ferreira, says that he asked the new police commissioner for information on the status of the investigation into the whereabouts of the missing suspects.

For four years, by means of advertisements published in more than 380 newspaper throughout the hemisphere, IAPA has been inviting the readers of print media to support, via its webpage , its campaign "Let's End Impunity" in crimes against press workers. Over 10,000 letters have been sent to authorities urging for more rigorous investigations.

The campaign enjoys the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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