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Plot to kill witness in journalist's murder case uncovered

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 16 November 2006, staff at Peru's National Penitentiary Institute (Instituto Nacional Penitenciario del Perú, INPE) uncovered a plan to kill one of the men involved in the murder of journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández, which took place in April 2004 in the town of Pucallpa, northeastern Peru.

According to information published by the newspaper "El Comercio", Álex Panduro Ventura, a key witness to the homicide, was to be killed in the Pucallpa jail, where he is imprisoned. The individuals behind the plan have not been identified.

Prison authorities transferred Panduro to the same wing where another man involved in the crime is serving his sentence, Tercero Samuel Gonzáles. Gonzáles is also a witness in the trial of those accused of being the masterminds of the journalist's murder: Luis Valdez Villacorta, mayor of the province of Coronel Portillo, and former councillor Solio Ramírez Garay.

On 15 November Panduro stated to "El Comercio" that both Valdez and Ramírez Garay have much to answer for in relation to the crime.

Rivera was shot to death on 21 April 2004. The day before his murder, on his radio programme he had accused Valdez of being involved with drug trafficking.

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