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Arrest warrant issued for mayor and former court official accused of journalist's murder

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 3 April 2006, the Coronel Portillo Criminal Court in Pucallpa, issued a warrant for the arrest of mayor Luis Valdez Villacorta and former court official Solio Ramírez Garay, alleged intellectual authors of the murder of journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández, which took place in April 2004. Both of the accused are on the run. Pucallpa is in the Ucayali region, eastern Peru.

Édgar Padilla Vásquez, the judge who presides over the court, changed a previously issued order that the accused appear before the court into an arrest warrant. The change was made due to, among other things, a statement by Lito Fasabi Pizango, material author of the crime, who assured the court that Valdez and Ramírez had hired him to commit the murder. The local police have not determined the whereabouts of either man, although it is believed that Valdez may have checked into one of the town's hospitals.

Rivera was murdered on 20 April 2004 in his office in Pucallpa with two shots to the chest. The journalist had criticized Valdez's administration and accused him of being linked to drug traffickers. Rivera's murderers and the men who contacted them have already been convicted and sentenced.

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