Journalists Killed  |  Colombia

Pablo Emilio Parra Castañeda

Planadas Cultural Estéreo

June 21, 2001, in Bogotá, Colombia

Leftist guerrillas shot Parra, 50, twice in the head after abducting him from his home in the Tolima Department township of Planadas. The body of Parra, who founded and directed the community radio station Planadas Cultural Estéreo, was found later that day along a rural road.

Col. Norberto Torres of the Planadas police said that after killing Parra, rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) attached a note to his body that read: "For being a spy." FARC rebels control the area, according to local authorities.

The FARC, the nation's largest leftist rebel group, later claimed responsibility for the assassination in a communiqué that accused Parra of being an informant for the army, Torres said.

When contacted by CPJ, a spokesman for the army's 6th Brigade denied that Parra was an informant. The spokesman, who asked to remain unidentified, said no one at the brigade had heard of him. Parra's 30-year-old daughter, Liliana Parra, also denied that her father was an informant. She told CPJ that her father broadcast popular music and community news on his radio program but never discussed political subjects.

The radio station was based in Parra's house. The journalist also worked with the local office of the Red Cross and had never received death threats, Liliana Parra said.

The departmental prosecutor's office was investigating the murder but had made no arrests by year's end. Special Prosecutor Jairo Francisco Leal Alvarado said evidence found so far suggested that Parra was not killed because of his work as a journalist. He would not elaborate.

Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.


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