Convictions in journalist’s killing praised

A court in Honduras has sentenced the murderers of journalist Alfredo Villatoro to life imprisonment.

Villatoro, host of the news program “Diario Matutino” broadcast by HRN radio in Tegucigalpa, was kidnapped May 9, 2012, and his body was found six days later. The criminal court sentenced Marvin Alonso Gómez and brothers Osman Fernando and Edgar Francisco Osorio Arguijo to life imprisonment.

The Inter American Press Association welcomed a ruling.

“We applaud the fact that in this case justice has been served,” said Claudio Paolillo. He is editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda. He also is the chairman of the press association’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information.

“In addition to the correct action for the murder of Villatoro, we are pleased that the Honduras government is taking steps to show its determination to put an end to violence and impunity,” he added in a reference to the recent passage by the Honduras Congress of a law for the protection of journalists.

In another development Paolillo denounced a campaign of harassment and aggression in Cuba launched against members of the Hablemos Press Information Center news agency and condemned an attack on its director, Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez.

Guerra Pérez was attacked in Havana by a person sent by the political police, injuring him in the face, the agency reported on its Web site The day before he had received a telephoned threat.

The center also reported on recent violent actions against its members in the past two months by political police that include “coercion and intimidation, jailing, arbitrary detentions, death threats, harassment, character assassination, beatings, seizure of tools” and the blocking of their mobile phones, among other acts.

“We condemn the threatening actions against the news media, to which unfortunately the archaic Cuban regime has made us become accustomed to,” said Paolillo, who also expressed his “solidarity with the independent journalists who, going against the current, survive in the face of an archaic government that does not recognize the fundamental right to freedom of expression and of the press.”

Several days earlier more than 70 members of the Ladies in White movement were detained for five to 12 hours when they attempted to attend a Sunday Mass at various churches around the country.

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