Peru - Radio reporter gunned down in an apparent contract killing linked to his work

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MONTREAL, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders expressed its
deepest sympathy today with the family and colleagues of Miguel Pérez Julca, a
radio journalist who was gunned down on 16 March in Jaén, in the northwestern
province of Cajamarca. Given the stories Pérez was covering and the manner of
his death, the organisation hopes the police will thoroughly investigate the
possibility that it was connected with his work.
"He was looking into local corruption, he said he was being followed just
before his death, and his murderers behaved like contract killers," the press
freedom organisation said. "So for all these reasons the investigators should
work on the assumption he was killed because of his reporting, even if that
upsets the local government.".
Reporters Without Borders added: "Gunned down in front of his family,
Pérez was the first journalist to be murdered in Peru since 2004. His murder
must not be left unpunished, or else it will encourage others to do the same."
Aged 38, Pérez was returning to his home in the Jaén district of Las
Palmeras with his wife and two children on the evening of 16 March when two
gunmen on a motorcycle shot him twice in the head and then sped away. He died
while being rushed to hospital. His wife, Nelly Guevara Arrascue, was hit in
the left knee.
Pérez worked for "El informativo del pueblo," a news programme on local
Radio Exitos. He was also a contributor to Radio Oriental and Radio Jaén. He
had recently blamed Jaén mayor Jaime Vilchez Oblitas for several cases of
mismanagement. He has also covered local corruption and violent crime in Jaén.
The day before his murder, he told friends he had seen a white car following
him on the street.
The daily La Republica reported that several witnesses had identified the
killers as being local criminals but no arrests had been made.
The last two journalists to be killed in Peru were Antonio de la Torre
Echeandia of Radio Orbita, who was murdered in Yungay (400 km north of Lima)
on 14 February 2004, and Alberto Rivera Fernandez of radio Frecuencia
Oriental, who was gunned down in the east-central city of Pucallpa on 21 April
2004. The local mayors and their close associates were allegedly implicated in
both cases but were let off by the courts last year.

Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press
freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium,
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has
representatives in Bangkok, London, New York, Tokyo and Washington. And it has
more than 120 correspondents worldwide.


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