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IAPA urges judiciary to ensure "Muralla" journalist's disappearance, other crimes against journalists, do not go unpunished

(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is a 25 April 2008 IAPA press release:

IAPA meets with the Dominican Republic's judiciary to discuss impunity

An international IAPA delegation met with the head of the Dominican Republic's Supreme Court to express its satisfaction with the progress achieved in addressing the impunity in which various journalists' murders remain. At the same time, it asked the Supreme Court to remain vigilant about other cases that have yet to reach a final resolution in the legal system.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Jorge A. Subero Isa, thanked IAPA for its 24 April visit. The delegation, led by IAPA president Earl Maucker, commented that "this Court has set an important and exemplary precedent with the ratification of the conviction and sentence of the perpetrators of Orlando Martínez's murder."

Martínez, who worked for "Ahora" magazine, was gunned down on 17 March 1975. On 19 December 2007, the Supreme Court issued a final ruling, raising the sentence of one of the perpetrators, Joaquín Antonio Pou Castro, from 20 to 30 years in prison and confirming the 30-year sentence given to two others - Mariano Cabrera Durán and Rabel Lluberes Ricard.

Maucker, editor and first vice-president of the "Sun-Sentinel" newspaper, published in southern Florida, said that the ruling should be an example for others.

He told Subero that "there are other cases, such as that of 'Muralla' magazine journalist and university lecturer Narciso González, who disappeared on 26 May 1994, which require our attention and which need to be resolved, for the sake of free expression and the Dominican people."

Maucker was accompanied by Rafael Molina, of the Dominican Republic-based daily "El Día", IAPA executive director Julio Muñoz, and IAPA press freedom director Ricardo Trotti.

The delegation, in Santo Domingo because there is a meeting today with the military from various Latin American countries, also thanked Subero for hosting the hemispheric conference The Judiciary, the Press, Impunity, held from 18-20 July 2007, out of which arose the Santo Domingo Declaration of Principles. That Declaration allowed IAPA to outline a work plan involving holding forums and meetings with prosecutors, judges and editors, and continuing to train journalists in working on the topics of conflicts and violence.

IAPA's anti-impunity project is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Updates the González case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/83175

For further information on the Martínez case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/89360

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