Peruvian court clears ex-mayor in journalist’s killing

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  • February 9, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

A Lima court acquitted Luis Valdez Villacorta, the former mayor of Coronel Portillo, on charges that he had ordered the killing of journalist Alberto Rivera in 2004, the Associated Press reports.

The verdict also cleared another former city official. Prosecutors plan to appeal the decision. They had sought 20 years for both suspects, and financial indemnification for the family, El Comercio adds. The case will now go to the Supreme Court.

The judges ruled there was insufficient evidence and contradictory testimony, La República reports. “One cannot convict a person on mere suspicion,” the official ruling said.

Both the National Journalists Association of Peru and Rivera’s family criticized the court’s decision, RPP adds. "Journalism is at risk in this country," Rivera’s daughter, Patricia Rivera said, quoted by the AP. "This shows that impunity rules in this country, because money can buy consciences."

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.