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Ecuador9 April 2008

Prosecutors say newspaper editor’s murder was not linked to his work

Investigators are again working on the assumption that the motive for newspaper editor Carlos Navarrete’s murder was robbery. This was the initial theory but it was then ruled out because nothing was taken from his apartment in the western city of Guayaquil where his body was found on 24 February with multiple stab wounds.

According to the latest information provided to the national press by the prosecutor’s office, Navarrete was tortured and killed for refusing to give intruders the combination to his safe. A warrant was issued on 21 March for the arrest of a suspect known as Francisco Jurado Mosquera, who has not yet been located.

Navarrete edited the Quito-based daily El Telégrafo from 2000 until 2007, when he began editing the Guayaquil-based free daily La Calle.

29.02.08 - Robbery ruled out as motive in fatal stabbing of El Telégrafo’s former editor

Reporters Without Borders calls on the authorities to shed light on all aspects of the murder of newspaper editor Carlos Navarrete, who was found dead in his home in the western city of Guayaquil on the night of 24 February. The police originally thought robbery was the motive, but they have now ruled that out.

Navarrete had edited the Guayaquil-based free daily La Calle since last year. Before that, he had edited the Quito-based daily El Telégrafo since 2000.

“There is still no indication of the motive for this especially gruesome murder and, in particular, no evidence has emerged to suggest that it was linked to Navarrete’s activities as a newspaper editor,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Ecuadorean press has lost one of its leading lights and we share in the tributes being paid to him by his colleagues and family. We hope this case will be solved quickly.”

Navarrete, 53, was found dead in the bathroom of his Guayaquil home on the night of 24 February by his mother. His hands were tied and he had been stabbed seven times in the neck and thorax. The police said they also found signs of torture on the body.

Blood was discovered inside his car, which was found in another part of the city, and the police suspect he was not killed in his home. The neighbours did not see or hear anything suspicious and nothing appears to have been taken from the home. The police now say they think the murder was an act of revenge.

El Telégrafo, the newspaper which Navarrete used to edit, was acquired by the state in 1999 when the business empire of its owner, Fernando Aspiazu, collapsed. Navarrete waged a longer battle on behalf of the newspaper’s private shareholders for majority control. After a court ruled in favour of the state on 7 June 2007, Navarrete had to leave and went to Guayaquil to run La Calle.

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