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IAPA urges action on unpunished murder of journalist

(IAPA/IFEX) - MIAMI, Florida (June 25, 2009) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today called on newspaper readers in the Americas to sign an open letter to Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe Vélez urging him to take action for those guilty of the April 27, 2001 murder of journalist Flavio Iván Bedoya Sarriá to be brought to justice.

The IAPA is waging a hemisphere-wide campaign titled "Let's Put an End to Impunity" to see that the perpetrators of the nearly 400 murders of journalists committed in the last 20 years, and those responsible for the disappearance of a dozen more, do not continue to go unpunished. The IAPA has submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) a total of 24 cases of still unpunished murders of journalists in Brazil (9), Guatemala (2), Bolivia (2), Colombia (6), Mexico (4) and Paraguay (1). Other cases presented to the Commission are currently in the process of an amicable solution. They are those of Manoel Leal de Oliveira, Brazil; Nelson Carvajal, Colombia; and Héctor Félex Miranda and Víctor Manuel Oropeza, Mexico.

Bedoya worked as the correspondent in Tumaco, Nariño province, for the weekly newspaper Voz Proletaria. Now, eight years after his death, his killers remain unpunished. The investigation is still at the preliminary inquiries stage. According to the Attorney General's Office evidence gathered in a bid to identify the perpetrators has produced no results.

Interactive ads are appearing in print media throughout the hemisphere, inviting readers to go to the Web site , where they can add their signatures to the letter to President Uribe. The initiative is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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