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Outspoken radio journalist killed following threats, previous murder attempt, in Guayaquil

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF hopes that the 23 June 2008 murder of Radio Sucre deputy news director Raúl Rodríguez, which took place in the western city of Guayaquil, will be quickly solved. The motive has yet to be established, but Rodríguez, 64, had been the target of attacks in the past.

"Rodríguez carried a gun because he was receiving threats and had been attacked twice," the press freedom organisation said. "He had a few enemies, because he had criticised corruption so much on the air. The investigation should take all this into account, even if the evidence gathered so far does not establish that his murder was linked to his work as a journalist."

The attack took place at about 7:20 a.m. (local time) as Rodríguez returned to his home in the northern district of Guayacanes after hosting his early morning programme "Good Morning Ecuador" on Radio Sucre.

He was getting out of his jeep when he was attacked by two gunmen wearing hats. One of them - who was accompanied by a woman, according to some accounts - shot him in the back. The other emerged from behind a corner and shot him head-on. Rodríguez tried to take cover behind a parked car and, although wounded, pulled out his own gun to return fire. Police believe a total of 13 shots were fired. According the daily "El Universo", the assailants fled in a Lada taxi with licence number GNZ-119.

Hit in the neck, thorax and left leg, Rodríguez died from his injuries in a nearby hospital to which he was rushed by a relative he had been on his way to visit.

After 20 years with radio HCJB2, an evangelical radio station he founded, Rodríguez joined Radio Sucre in 1984 and became its deputy news director. He hosted three programmes: "Good Morning Ecuador," "News Reports" and a Saturday news programme. His family said he was often outspoken on the air in his condemnation of alleged local government corruption and his criticism of the national government. A social conservative, he also criticised homosexuality and abortion.

His family said he occasionally received telephone threats and shots were fired at the facade of his house in 2005. In 2006, six men tried to kill him one night as he was parking his car.

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