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Ecuador30 June 2008

Journalist on Guayaquil radio was killed for personal reasons

Raúl Rodríguez, deputy heads of news on Radio Sucre, was apparently murdered for personal reasons and not in connection with his work, prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Antonio Galiardo, told Agence France-Presse on 27 June. He said the journalist’s mistress, Luz Rivera, was believed to have paid a hit-man 4,500 dollars to kill him. The hired killer was reportedly Johnny Jimmy Medina, arrested on 26 June. He was found to have a bullet wound that appeared to confirm his involvement in the exchange of fire in which Rodriguez died on 23 June, close to Luz Rivera’s home. A total of seven people have so far been arrested and charged in connection with the investigation.

24.06.08 - Radio journalist, target of two previous attacks, gunned down in Guayaquil

Reporters Without Borders hopes that yesterday’s murder of Radio Sucre deputy news director Raúl Rodríguez in the western city of Guayaquil will be quickly solved. The motive has yet to be established but Rodríguez, 64, had been the target of attacks in the past.

“Rodríguez carried a gun because he was getting threats and had been attacked twice,” the press freedom organisation said. “He had just a few friends, partly because he had criticised corruption so much on the air. The investigation should take all this into account, even if the evidence gathered so far does not establish that his murder was linked to his work as a journalist.”

The attack took place at about 7:20 a.m. yesterday as Rodríguez returned to his home in the northern district of Guayacanes after presenting his early morning programme “Good Morning Ecuador” on Radio Sucre.

He was getting out of his jeep when he was attacked by two gunmen wearing hats. One of them - who was accompanied by a woman, according to some accounts - shot him in the back. The other emerged from behind a corner and shot him head on. Rodríguez tried to take cover behind a parked car and, although wounded, pulled out his own gun in order to return fire. Police believe a total of 13 shots were fired.

According the daily El Universo, the assailants fled in a Lada taxi with the licence number GNZ-119. Hit in the neck, thorax and left leg, Rodríguez died as a result of injuries in a nearby hospital to which he was rushed by a relative he had been about to visit.

After 20 years presenting radio HCJB2, an evangelical radio station he founded, Rodríguez joined Radio Sucre in 1984 and became its deputy news director. He hosted three programmes - “Good Morning Ecuador,” “News Reports” and a Saturday new programme. His family said he was often outspoken on the air in his condemnation of alleged local government corruption and his criticism of the national government. A social conservative, he also criticised homosexuality and abortion.

His family said he occasionally received telephone threats and shots were fired at the facade of his house in 2005. The following year, six men tried to kill him as he was parking his car.

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