Tag Archive | "murder"

Paraguay: Ypehu Mayor Wanted for Murder of Journalist

The killing took place in Canindeyú, which borders Brazil in north Paraguay

The killing took place in Canindeyú, which borders Brazil in north Paraguay

The mayor of Ypehu, district of Canindeyú, has been accused of being involved in the murder of journalist Pablo Medina and his assistant Antonia Almada last week and is wanted by the police.

Mayor Vilmar Acosta and his brother, Wilson Acosta, remain at large. According to the prosecutor in charge of the case, Wilson Acosta was identified by a witness —Almada’s sister Juana, who was travelling with them— as the killer. He was allegedly accompanied by his nephew, Gustavo Acosta, and a third person, who remains unidentified.

Both Wilson and Gustavo Acosta were wanted by police for the murder of former Ypehu mayor Julián Núñez on 1st August. Prosecutor Néstor Cañete has found other links between the cases, such as the weapons used —a 9mm pistol and 12-gauge shotgun.

According to ABC Color, the newspaper where Medina worked, Vilmar Acosta was going to give himself in, but two reasons made him change his mind. The first reason was the appointment of prosecutor Sandra Quiñónez to the case, and the second was a raid carried out at the town hall, where the police found stolen cars, marijuana seeds, ammunition, and balaclavas —all evidence allegedly linked to the murder of Medina.

Medina and Almada were killed on Thursday 16th October as they travelled by car in Villa Ygatimí, Canindeyú. Medina, who had worked for ABC Color for 16 years, reported on the local traffic of marijuana and had been threatened several times.

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Venezuela: Government Legislator Robert Serra Killed

Robert Serra casting his vote in 2010, when he became the youngest member of the National Assembly (photo courtesy of Robert Serra's official facebook page)

Robert Serra casting his vote in 2010, when he became the youngest member of the National Assembly (photo courtesy of Robert Serra’s official facebook page)

Venezuela’s Justice Minister, Miguel Rodríguez Torres, has announced that Robert Serra, a legislator from the governing United Socialist Party (PSUV) had been found dead in his apartment in the capital Caracas along with his partner, María Herrera.

Serra, a 27-year-old criminal lawyer, was the youngest member of the National Assembly. A prominent lawmaker with close ties to President Nicolás Maduro, he was widely known as a pro-Chávez youth leader, and also for his strong statements in the assembly. He was elected in 2010.

In a press conference this afternoon, Rodríguez Torres confirmed that the murders were “intricately planned” and that they were not a result of a regular criminal act, such as a robbery, but seemed to be pre-meditated assassinations. Both were killed using “long stabbing objects”, although further details have not been given.

Maduro reacted to the news, paying tribute to Serra via Twitter: “We’re immensely sad about the murder of Robert Serra, Bolivarian pro-Chávez leader. May God lift you to His glory [...] Robert, we will continue your example, loyal and steady on the path of the Revolution that you always defended passionately.”

The murders took place at around 10pm last night. Rodríguez Torres said that further details could not be disclosed until a full investigation had taken place. He also refused to give a possible motive for the killings.

In 2012 Serra’s bodyguard, Alexis Barreto, was killed. His body was found in a hill in the capital Caracas, and it was confirmed to have been a targeted assassination, as neither the money he was carrying nor his gun were taken.

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Peru: Four Indigenous Anti-Logging Activists Killed

Edwin Chota was one of the four xxx

Edwin Chota was one of the four Ashaninka men killed

Four Peruvian tribal leaders have been shot dead on their way to a meeting to discuss ways to stop illegal logging. The group, who were from the Amazonian Ashaninka community, were killed near the border with Brazil, and included outspoken anti-logging campaigner Edwin Chota.

Chota was the leader of the Alto Tamaya-Saweto community, and had received several death threats from illegal loggers, who are thought to have been behind the killings.

“He threatened to upset the status quo,” said David Salisbury, a professor at the University of Richmond who was advising Chota on his community’s quest for land titles and had known him for a decade. “The illegal loggers are on record for wanting Edwin dead.”

The group were killed on 1st September, but news has only just filtered out of the killings due to the remoteness of the location.

The president of the Ashaninka organisation Aconamac, Reyder Sebastián Quinticuari, said: “Our people have always defended our resources and have faced illegal loggers who see our reserves as places to exploit.”

Peru’s main indigenous federation, AIDESEP, expressed outrage at police and the judiciary in a statement for “doing absolutely nothing despite repeated complaints” to protect the slain men, who it said had joined “the long list of martyrs who fell in defence of their ancestral lands”.

According to a 2012 World Bank report, an estimated 80% of Peruvian timber exports stem from illegal logging.

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Chile: Three More Charged over Víctor Jara’s Murder

Víctor Jara was one of the xxx (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Víctor Jara was one of the fathers of Chile’s New Song Movement (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

A judge in Santiago has charged three more former military personnel with the murder of Chilean singer Víctor Jara who was killed on 16th September 1973, just days after Augusto Pinochet’s military coup ended Salvador Allende’s government.

Former military officers Hernán Chancón Soto and Patricio Vásquez Donoso were charged with taking part in the killing, whilst ex-army prosecutor Ramón Melo Silva was charged as an accomplice. They join a list of eight other former army officers who were charged in late 2012 and early 2013 with the killing of Jara, who was a singer, songwriter, poet, political activist, and member of the Communist Party.

“This decision has to be celebrated and we hope this investigation can continue,” Jara’s widow, Joan Jara, said at a press conference. “We know this marks a milestone.”

Jara was arrested the morning after the 11th September coup and taken to the Estadio de Chile along with thousands of others. He was tortured and ultimately shot dead, and his body, riddled with 44 bullet bounds, was dumped outside the stadium. He was 40 years old.

Jara became famous in the 1960s for his protest music. He was one of the founding fathers of Chile’s “New Song Movement” which was instrumental in bringing Allende’s left-wing administration to power in 1970.

The contrast between the themes of his songs on peace and social justice and the way in which he was killed transformed Jara into a symbol for the struggle for human rights and justice during the Pinochet regime.

Jara was one of around 5,000 political prisoners taken captive during the dictatorship, over 3,000 of whom have never been seen again.

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Guilty Verdicts in French Tourists Murder Case

A monument to the murdered French tourists was inaugurated last year in the area they were found in Salta (photo: Néstor Troncoso/El Tribuno/Télam)

A monument to the murdered French tourists was inaugurated last year in the area they were found in Salta (photo: Néstor Troncoso/El Tribuno/Télam)

Three people have been found guilty for their involvement in the rape and murder of Cassandre Bouvier, 29, and Houria Moumni, 23, French tourists who were killed in Salta in 2011.

Gustavo Lasi was found guilty for double homicide, with aggravated sexual assault and theft. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Two of his co-defendants, Omar Darío Ramos and Antonio Eduardo Sandoval, were found guilty of helping to cover up the crime by hiding the murder weapon. They each received sentences of two years.

Two other defendants, Daniel Vilte Laxi and Santos Clemente Vera, also facing charges of of double homicide, with aggravated sexual assault and theft, were found not guilty.Lasi had already confessed to being at the scene of the crime and sexually assaulting one of the women, although he claimed it was Vilte Laxi and Vera who shot the girls.

However, after a trial that lasted over two months, with 200 witness testimonies, the judges – in a split decision – decided the evidence against his alleged accomplices was not sufficient.

As the trial drew to a close earlier today, the defendants were given a chance to say some last words. Lasi addressed Jean Michel Bouvier, the father of one of the victims, and the only family member present, saying: “I’m really sorry for what happened.” After the verdict was read, Bouvier said he felt that the trial had gone well.

The two victims were last seen visiting the Quebrada de San Lorenzo on 15th July 2011. Their bodies were found at the popular tourist site two weeks later.


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A Woman Killed Every 35 Hours, Report Reveals

Fabiana Túñez and Ada Rico from Casa del Encuentro at the book launch (photo courtesy of Casa del Encuentro on Facebook)

Fabiana Túñez and Ada Rico at the book launch (photo courtesy of Casa del Encuentro on Facebook)

A report by NGO Casa del Encuentro revealed that a woman is killed every 35 hours in Argentina. In the first nine months of 2013 alone, 209 women have been killed as a result of gender violence, an 8% increase since 2012.

The information was revealed yesterday in the presentation of the book ‘For them…’, which compiles five years of reports published by Casa del Encuentro’s Femicides Observatory and was financed by Fundación Avón and the US Embassy.

Since the Observatory began working in 2008 due to a lack of official statistics on femicides, it has recorded 1,432 gender-related murders, which have left 1,793 children without their mothers. Ada Rico, director of the Observatory, said during the book presentation yesterday at the US Embassy, that “there is still a high number of deaths due to gender violence; there has been progress with the law that increased sentences, but we’re still lacking prevention to avoid murder. And if a homicide happens, the aggressor should be denied custody of the children and should support the family of the victim financially for the minors’ wellbeing.”

Data from 2013 shows that 65% of the 209 murders were committed by the victim’s partner or ex-partner, and 58% were committed in the victim’s, the murderer’s or their shared home. The majority of victims (70%) were aged between 19 and 50, however there was a 100% increase in the number of victims aged 60 or more between 2012 and 2013.

In 2013 there were also 36 victims of “related femicides”, 12 of which were children. “Related femicides” are defined as murders of people close to the woman the aggressor is attempting to dominate, or those who are killed whilst trying to impede the murder. This year alone, 293 people lost their mother to gender violence, at least 67% of them were under 18.

Fabiana Túñez, from Casa del Encuentro, demanded “more public policies” and “more prevention” to overcome sexist violence in Argentina. One prevention measure that should be implemented is the anti-panic button, said Rico, which “can save a life. However, it’s not found at the national level, and in the places where it does exist, such as Buenos Aires, Tigre, Bahía Blanca, Santa Fe, Córdoba, and Río Grande, the cases [of gender violence] have decreased.”

The book ‘For them…’ (‘Por ellas….‘), in Spanish, is available for free at www.porellaslibro.com.

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Dominican Republic: Hate Crimes and Mass Repatriation Over Weekend

Danilo Medina

President of the Dominican Republic Danilo Medina (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Support Group for Repatriates and Refugees (GARR) has condemned the incidents that took place this weekend in the Dominican Republic in which at least six people, four Haitians and two Dominicans, were murdered and around 350 Haitians were repatriated in a period of 48 hours.

According to the statement, 347 Haitians were repatriated between 23th and 24th November over the Jimani/Malpasse boarder. It has been reported that 107 of those repatriated were young children, one of them only three days old. The majority of those deported had gone to police stations and military barracks in the area of Neiba, in the south of the Dominican Republic, to escape an outbreak of hate crimes carried out by a group of Dominicans looking to avenge the death of two Dominicans reportedly killed by Haitian robbers. The GARR has collected statements confirming the death of four Haitians, although several others are said to have been lynched.

Four repatriated Haitians confessed to GARR that they had been forced to dig the grave of the murdered Haitians in the Naiba cemetery. According to the statement, many Haitians have shut themselves inside their houses or are hiding in the houses of Dominican friends for protection. Meanwhile, from the Grand Bois Cornillons area of Haiti, the GARR and other human rights committees reported observing the arrival of hundreds of Haitians fleeing the Dominican Republic over the mountains.

In their statement, GARR denounced the behaviour of the Dominican military authorities and the police for deporting many “defenseless people who had come to them to ask for protection and were deported without any coordination with the Haitian authorities”. They said, “It is inconceivable that very young children and heavily pregnant woman are pushed towards the border in these conditions”.

This new incident has arisen in a difficult context where the rights of Haitian immigrants and their descendants have been gravely weakened after Dominican authorities complied with their Constitutional Court’s decision to withdraw the Dominican nationality of children born to foreign parents, the majority of whom are Haitian, living in the Dominican Republic. According the the GARR some Dominicans who are hostile towards Haitians have interpreted the decision as a green light from the authorities “to humiliate and force any Haitian to abandon their Dominican home.”

The decision has also been heavily condemned by the International community. In a statement released this weekend, leaders of the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) declared their “collective abhorrence” to the ruling. They described the decision as “repulsive and discriminatory” and added “we profoundly regret the failure of the Dominican government to take corrective measures”. They also called on the the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping to “immediately suspend any consideration of the application by the Dominican Republic for membership of CARICOM.” A special meeting of the CARICOM bureau to discuss the court ruling will be held in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday.

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Haiti: President Faces Dismissal over Murder Case

Michael Martelly faces dismissal (photo: PD-USGov-DOS, US Department of State)

Michael Martelly faces dismissal (photo: PD-USGov-DOS, US Department of State)

The Haitian Senate have decided to open an investigation into the president and prime minister for being implicated in the murder of a judge. Yesterday, they approved a commission which recommends the dismissal of the president.

President Michael Martelly and two members of parliament are facing dismissal from the government as they are allegedly involved in the murder of a judge who was investigating an accusation against the wife and a child of the president.

The judge, Jean Serge Joseph, died suspiciously on the 13th July of a cerebral hemorrhage. The admitting hospital stated that Joseph died of a “cerebrovascular accident” or stroke but Joseph’s family and several high profile politicians believe Joseph was poisoned.

The president’s wife, Sophia Saint-Remy, and her son Olivier, were being accused of “usurpation of functions and conspiracy” in their manipulation of public funds.

The main driving force behind the charges against the president is Senator Moïse Jean-Charles, the leader of the opposition.

Members of parliament have determined that the president visited the judge two days before his death to try and pressure him regarding his case involving Saint-Rémy.

Jean-Charles said that after the suspicions about the crime had been made known to the Senate, they democratically decided whether to pass the commission proposing Martelly’s dismissal on Tuesday evening.

Seven senators voted for the proposal, zero against, and nine abstained from voting.

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Paraguay: Leader of the Peasant Farmers’ Movement Killed by Gunmen

Soy fields in Paraguay (photo: Patty P)

Soy fields in Paraguay (photo: Patty P)

A leader of the Paraguayan peasant farmers’ movement was killed in his home by gunmen, police confirmed today. His son was also severely injured during the attack.

Inocencio Sanabria, 46 years, who was from the town of Arroyito, in the district of Concepción, was the leader of a peasant farmer organisation. This organisation is fighting against the eviction of subsistence farmers from their land due to the uncontrolled expansion of large farming estates for the cultivation of soy.

According to information released by Radio Nanduti, a Paraguayan radio station, the attack took place at 7pm last night. Two men approached Sanabria’s house on a motorbike pretending to be selling medicine. Once they had located Sanabria, they opened fire killing him immediately and seriously injuring one of his sons, who has been taken to the regional hospital in Concepción.

Days before the attack, Sanabria had attended a social forum in the town on Horqueta where participants strongly condemned the attitude of landowners planting soy. In the run-up to the forum, residents of the area had warned of the possibility of revenge attacks on those that opposed the cultivation of soy.

Sanabria is the third leader involved in peasant farmers’ protests to be killed by gunmen in their homes in the past year. Benjamin Lezcano was assassinated in the same town, Arroyito, six months ago and Vidal Vega was killed in Curuguaty in December 2012. Vega had been a key witness in the Curuguaty Massacre case.

Arroyito, which is located in the northeast of the country, is a highly militarised zone and also an area where a guerrilla group, the Paraguyan People’s Army (EPP) is active. Abel Irala, spokesperson for Service for Peace and Justice, a human rights organisation, said about Sanabria’s case: “The peasant farmers do not know who sent the assassins, whether it was the landowners, the police, or the EPP. These people are suffering feelings of insecurity, fear, and pain´.

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Venezuela: Colombians Arrested for Presidential Assassination Plot

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro (Facebook)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro (Facebook)

Venezuela’s Minister of Interior, Justice and Peace, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, announced that two Colombians have been arrested on suspicion of plotting to kill Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.

Victor Joan Gueche Mosquera, 22, and Erick Leonardo Huerta Ríos, 18, were arrested on 15th August, but the information was only made public today. It seems the target of the attack was Maduro, but if that assassination failed, the president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, would be targetted.

The pair were caught in a motel on a highway leading from the Altos Mirandinos, in the west of the country, to Caracas. They are suspected to have been working under the orders of Alejandro Caicedo Alfonso, also known as ‘David’. Another man, Carlos Salcedo, is being sought.

According to Torres, they were found with two loaded guns, pictures of Maduro and Cabello, and ten uniforms of the Venezuelan army. “They said they came here to kill someone, but they didn’t give an name.”

He said that Colombian authorities have been helping with the investigation, and that all facts were verified with the neighbour’s intelligence services before being made public, hence the delay in the arrests coming to light.

Torres added that the operation, dubbed ‘Yellow File’, would have been executed by ten men in total, information confirmed by the Colombian intelligence services.

He also stated that former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe would be implicated in the plan: “He is linked to a drug trafficking group, we would not be surprised if we learnt that he gave the instructions.”

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