Colombia sentences two ex-paramilitary fighters for attack on journalist

Blitz-CPJ News

The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the sentencing on May 6 of former paramilitary fighters Alejandro Cárdenas Orozco and Jesús Emiro Pereira Rivera for the kidnapping, rape, and torture of Colombian journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima in 2000.

A court in Bogotá, in a ruling made public May 7, sentenced Pereira to 40 years and six months in prison for the attack, according to the Bogotá-based Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) and news reports. The court also sentenced Cárdenas to 30 years in prison for assault, according to the same sources; he had already been sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2016 on charges of kidnapping and torture in the same case, as documented by CPJ. In the decision, the court found that other third parties could be held responsible, including a former high-ranking police official, and it forwarded copies of the case to the prosecutor’s office for further investigation, according to the same sources.

“The conviction and sentencing of two men involved in the violent attack against journalist Jineth Bedoya is another important victory in her courageous 19-year fight against impunity,” said CPJ South and Central America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick in New York. “However, it is still not the last step. Colombian authorities must continue to investigate this horrific crime and ensure that all of those responsible face justice.”

Bedoya was reporting on paramilitary death squads for the daily El Espectador when she was kidnapped outside La Modelo prison in Bogotá on May 25, 2000, according to CPJ reporting. The assailants drove her to the nearby city of Villavicencio, where she was beaten and raped, according to the attorney general’s office. Bedoya wrote about the attack in “The Sadness of May the 25,” an article in the 2016 edition of CPJ’s Attacks on the Press.

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