Impunity - Peru

WHEREAS the murder of journalist Alberto de la Torre Echeandía in Yungay in February 2004 remains unsolved. The Supreme Court dismissed the convictions of Yungay Mayor Amaro León León, Marino Torre Camone and Pedro Ángeles Figueroa, who had been sentenced to 17 years in prison, for lack of evidence and ordered their release WHEREAS the Supreme Court also has before it appeals of the stiff sentences issued by a court in Ucayali in the trial for the murder of journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández in Pucallpa in 2004 WHEREAS the Supreme Court’s decision will affect the second trial for Rivera’s murder in another court in Ucayali in which the head of the prosecutor’s office has requested a 20-year prison sentence for Luis Valdez Villacorta, the mayor of Coronel Portillo, and Solio Ramírez Garay, former head judge of another court in Ucayali, who are on trial for planning the crime WHEREAS recent actions recommended during joint missions of the Inter American Press Association and the Peruvian Press Council were welcomed by judicial authorities, police and Public Prosecutor’s Office officials, the Congress, the president of the Council of Ministers and the president of the republic WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to express its regret over the controversial ruling of the Supreme Court concerning the trial for the murder of Alberto de la Torre Echeandía to urge the highest officials of the Judiciary Control Office and the National Judiciary Council to study the possibility of revising that sentence to express to the head of the Judicial Branch the Inter American Press Association’s concern that all those involved in the murder of journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández be punished for their acts in accordance with the law.