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Colombia10 January 2006

Unacceptable impunity in the case of Julio Palacios Sánchez, a year after his murder

On the eve of the first anniversary of Julio Palacios Sánchez’s murder in the northeastern city of Cúcuta, Reporters Without Borders voiced exasperation today that the investigation has ground to a halt and no arrests have been made. The outspoken presenter of a news programme called “El Viento” on Radio Lemas, Sánchez was gunned down on 11 January 2005.

“With the enquiries apparently bogged down, we call on the Colombian authorities to do everything possible to identify and punish those responsible for this murder,” the press freedom organisation said. “We urge them not to abandon this investigation, as this would just reinforce the prevailing impunity, and we insist on the need for effective measures to protect the media.”

Aged 55, Sánchez was shot three times in the chest by two men on a motorcycle who had been following him as he drove to the radio station in the morning. He took several hours to die.

Responsibility for the investigation was transferred to the Bogotá prosecutor’s office, where the case has never gone past the preliminary stage and no suspect has ever been arrested. Until now it had always seemed probable that Sánchez’s murder was linked to his controversial radio programmes, which contained a great deal of criticism and allegations of corruption. But some of his colleagues recently said they could not be sure he was killed because of his work.

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