La Libertad radio journalist gunned down

Peruvian radio journalist Julio Cesar Castillo has been gunned down by four men in the town of Viru, in La Libertad region, local and international media reported.

Castillo, 41, was killed while eating lunch with friends on Tuesday. As the host of radio program Noticiero Ollantay, Castillo had reported on alleged corruption of local officials.

He had received death threats since March and investigators say had received a message threatening other journalists.

Castillo’s murder caught the attention of international and local media rights groups. The Internatioanl Press Institute condemned the murder and called on the Peruvian government to quickly find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

One of the main suspects in the murder is a 17-year-old, according to CPN Noticias. Police are currently pursuing the youth, who is called Deivi and known as a hitman involved in previous murders.

In an unrelated case of another journalist, murdered in 2003, the state prosecutor opened a new trial in February this year against Luis Valdez, a former mayor of Coronel Portillo in Pucallpa who is charged with being involved in the assassination of Pucallpa journalist Alberto Rivera, who reported on the mayor’s links to drug trafficking in eastern Peru.  Valdez was acquitted in an earlier trial but in 2010 the Supreme Court annulled the verdict on the grounds that the evidence had not been evaluated correctly.

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