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IFJ fears murder suspect will be freed

(IFJ/IFEX) - August 18, 2010 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by reports that a suspect in the murder of broadcaster Desidario "Jessie" Camangyan in the Philippines will be released from custody just two days before he is due to face trial on August 25.

The news prompted the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, to post an open letter to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa.

The letter appeals for the urgent extension of the restrictive custody placed on Dennis Lumikid, a police officer who is accused of killing Camangyan.

Camangyan was shot on the night of June 14 while hosting a singing contest in Manay, in Davao Oriental province, in the southern Philippines.

Camangyan was known for his critical stance on illegal logging and mining in his work as a broadcaster with Sunrise FM.

"The IFJ fully supports the NUJP's request that Lumikid not be released before facing trial for Camangyan's murder," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"We urge authorities to take action to ensure justice is served and to bring an end to the culture of impunity that has dominated the Philippines for too long."

In the letter, the NUJP pointed to a previous case where a suspect released from custody has continued to avoid facing trial despite an arrest warrant being issued.

In that case, Police Inspector Redempto "Boy" Acharon, a suspect in the 2008 murder of broadcaster Dennis Cuesta, remains at large despite orders to transfer him to custody.

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