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Authorities announce arrest in murder of journalist Argemiro Cárdenas Agudelo

(IPI/IFEX) - VIENNA, Mar. 30, 2012 – The International Press Institute (IPI) today welcomed reports that authorities in Colombia, Bolivia, and Honduras have arrested suspects in the recent killings of four journalists, but underscored the importance of conducting complete and comprehensive investigations.

“These arrests appear to be a positive first step,” IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said. “But we urge investigators to carefully examine all elements of these cases. Police should keep an open mind and not dismiss the possibility of a link to the journalists' professional activities.”

Mills emphasised that, despite the apparent progress, police have yet to present concrete motives or identify possible masterminds in the deaths of Colombian radio owner Argemiro Cárdenas Agudelo, Honduran reporter Fausto Evelio Hernández Arteaga, and Bolivian siblings Víctor and Verónica Hugo Peñasco Layme.

“It is absolutely essential that investigators conclusively determine who, if anyone, ordered these attacks and why,” Mills said. “Far too often the authorities in Latin America appear to be satisfied with the apprehension of a single suspect or triggerman in cases of journalist killings. Rarely are the masterminds, when they exist, brought to justice.”

Colombian media reported last week that 22-year-old John Alexánder Jaramilo García had pleaded guilty before a judge in Dosquebradas (Risaralda province) of murdering Cárdenas Agudelo on Mar 15. Federal agents had apprehended Jaramilo Garciá three days after Cárdenas Agudelo's murder.

The suspected gunman, who according to some accounts is unable to read or write, reportedly told investigators that he was to have received 1 million pesos (approx. € 420) for murdering Cárdenas Agudelo, who owned and reported for Metro Radio and served as Dosquebradas mayor in the late 1990s.

The chief of police in Pereira, Risaralda's capital, assured local media upon Jaramilo García's indictment that “investigators will now turn their attention toward the capture of who might be the mastermind(s)” behind the killing of Cárdenas Agudelo, an intention vigorously supported by IPI.

(...)

Read the full press release here

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