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IAPA calls for greater effort to solve murder of journalist Jaime Garzón

(IAPA/IFEX) - MIAMI, Florida (August 12, 2009) - On the tenth anniversary of the murder of Colombian journalist Jaime Garzón the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today renewed its call for justice to be done in the case of a crime that continues to go unpunished.

Garzón was killed in the early hours of August 13, 1999 as he was on his way to work at Radionet radio station in Bogotá by two hitmen who shot him from a motorcycle they were riding. During the ensuing trial the men alleged to have carried out the crime were acquitted and the person found guilty of masterminding it was himself later murdered.

Five years ago the Colombian Attorney General's Office, at the request of the judge in charge of the case, reopened the investigation with the aim of identifying any others involved, but to date there has been no result.

IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón, editor of the Bogotá, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo, expressed disappointment over the lack of action by the government and called on the officials concerned to redouble efforts aimed at locating and punishing the guilty.

Garzón was a prominent professional who practiced a journalism characterized by humorous criticism of the federal government and reported on events with an irreverent satirical style brimming with geniality and creativity.

The IAPA meanwhile expressed satisfaction at the announcement by the Colombian Inspector General's Office that it has asked the Attorney General's Office to arraign two other persons for the alleged masterminding of the January 30, 2002 murder of journalist Orlando Sierra, managing editor of the Manizales newspaper La Patria. They are the former Congressman for Caldas, Ferney Tapasco, and his son, Dickson, a former member of the Chamber of Deputies in that part of the country.

Orlando Sierra's murder sparked considerable anger in Colombia, resulting in a full investigation by the IAPA, the results of which it later submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In addition, the organization launched an awareness campaign on the impunity surrounding dozens of cases of murders of journalists, and including the documentary "The Battle of Silence".

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