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Journalist's murderer gets 21 years in jail, but motive is still unknown

(RSF/IFEX) - 3 April 2012 - John Alexander Jaramillo, a 24-year-old man who pleaded guilty to killing community radio station journalist Argemiro Cárdenas Agudelo on 15 March in Dosquebradas, in Risaralda department, was sentenced on 31 March to a combined sentence of 21 years, 2 months and 15 days in prison on charges of homicide and illegally carrying a firearm.

Jaramillo, who confessed to the murder three days after it took place, said he was paid 1 million pesos (approx. US$560) to carry it out. Asking the court to be forgiven, he nonetheless claimed to be unaware of the victim's identity, although Cárdenas was well known in Dosquebradas as the head of Metro Rádio Estéreo and as the town's former mayor.

While noting the speed with which the police and judicial authorities acted in this case, Reporters Without Borders cannot be satisfied with a verdict that reveals nothing about the motive for the journalist's murder.

It is unfortunately not unusual in such cases that the authorities arrest and convict a perpetrator who is young and knows nothing about the reasons or motivations behind the crime they have been implicated in. This cannot be regarded as victory over impunity. Was Cárdenas killed because of his radio journalism? The question has been left unanswered.

Meanwhile, another journalist has been murdered. Jesús Martínez Orozco was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle in Sabanalarga, in Atlántico department, on 29 March. Aged 42, he hosted exclusively cultural programmes for La Nueva, a privately-owned local station, and had never received any threat. Some sources are speculating that it was a case of mistaken identity.

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