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Mayor, municipal councillor acquitted of involvement in journalist's murder

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 14 November 2007, the First Criminal Bench of Ucayali's Superior Court acquitted the mayor of Pucallpa, Luis Valdez Villacorta, of the charges pending against him. The mayor had been accused of being behind the April 2004 murder of journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández, which took place in the Ucayali region, eastern Peru.

Solio Ramírez, a former municipal councillor and a close friend of the mayor, was also acquitted.
Lito Fasabi, also known as "Chino Lito", the hired killer who shot the journalist, was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Alex Panduro Ventura, also known as "Trolón", who also played a role in the murder and was Ramírez's former bodyguard, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Between them they are required to pay 100,000 soles (approx. US$33,000) in damages.

Lawyers representing the state and the murdered journalist's relatives condemned the mayor's and Ramírez's acquittal. IPYS also voiced concerns about the verdict.

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