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IAPA submits to IACHR results of investigation into journalist Santiago Leguizamón's murder

(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is a 19 January 2007 IAPA press release:

IAPA submits case of Santiago Leguizamón, murdered in 1991, to IACHR

MIAMI, Florida (January 19, 2007) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) submits today to the Washington, D.C.-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the results of its investigation into the April 26, 1991 murder of journalist Santiago Leguizamón in Paraguay.

Leguizamón was the host of the morning radio program "Puertas Abiertas" (Open Doors) broadcast by Radio Mburucuyá in the Paraguay-Brazil border town of Pedro Juan Caballero, where he also worked as a correspondent of the daily newspaper Noticias. It was on April 26, 1991 - ironically, the Day of the Journalist - that four men riding in a vehicle ambushed him and shot him 21 times.

Widely known for his frequent exposures of corruption, smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering on both sides of the international border, he had received a number of death threats. Official investigations into his death were characterized by their slow pace, irregularities and inefficiency. The case was shelved in 2002, with no one having been arrested. The crime continues to go unpunished.

IAPA President Rafael Molina, editor of the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, newspaper El Día, stressed "the importance of combating, through the inter-American system, the impunity surrounding crimes against journalists," adding, "so that the instigators and perpetrators of these crimes never can take refuge behind the mantle of impunity, we must take every possible step to confront them."

The chairman of the IAPA's Impunity Committee, Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, of the Mexican newspaper El Universal, meanwhile expressed the hope that "this action might lead the authorities in Paraguay to pay greater attention to this and other cases of violence against journalists, among such cases being the disappearance nearly one year ago of reporter Enrique Galeano." Ealy Ortiz said that the Leguizamón case would be the main topic at a seminar for journalists to be held February 21-23 in Paraguay.

The formal complaint about the Leguizamón case, which was investigated by Argentine journalist Jorge Elías of the IAPA's Rapid Response Unit, will be submitted to the IACHR at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., by Gonzalo Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre, chairman of the hemisphere organization's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, and Ricardo Trotti, its press freedom director.

Of the 63 investigations carried out as part of the IAPA's Unpunished Crimes Against Journalists project, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 19 cases have been submitted to date to the IACHR, 11 of them having been accepted for review.

For more information on the investigations, go to the Web site http://www.impunidad.com

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