Court convicts killers but acquits masterminds in murder

NOVEMBER 14, 2007
Posted December 28, 207

Alberto Rivera Fernández, Frecuencia Oriental

The Superior Court of Ucayali sentenced two men for Rivera’s 2004 murder but acquitted two others accused of masterminding the killing, including a former mayor, the Peruvian press reported.

The court sentenced Lito Fasabi, aka Chino Lito, to 35 years in prison and to pay a compensation of 100,000 new Peruvian soles (US$34,000) to Rivera’s family and a fine of 3,000 new Peruvian soles (US$1,000) to the Peruvian state for the journalist’s murder. Alex Panduro Ventura, aka Trolón, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for participating in the killing. However, the high court acquitted Luis Valdez Villacorta, former Pullacalpa mayor, and Solio Ramírez, a former government official.

Fasabi and Panduro had accused the former government officials of ordering Rivera’s murder, local news reports said. Yet, both men systematically changed their versions of the facts and eventually retracted the accusations against Valdez and Ramírez, reported the Lima-based daily La República. In its sentence, the high court stated that there was no evidence to support the accusations made by Fasabi and Panduro against the other defendants, said La República.

Rivera’s family immediately appealed the decision to the Peruvian Supreme Court, according to local press reports. A day later, the Inter American Commission on Human Rights announced that it would investigate the decision.

Two unidentified individuals shot Rivera, 54, in the chest and shoulder on April 21, 2004, inside the journalist’s office, which was within a glass store he owned. Rivera died of his wounds before he could be taken to the hospital. He had hosted the morning show “Transparencia” (Transparency), broadcast daily on Frecuencia Oriental radio station, in the city of Pucallpa. Rivera was an outspoken and controversial radio commentator known for his sharp criticism of local and regional authorities. He had accused then-Mayor Valdez of corruption in the sale of land occupied by squatters. Five men were convicted of participating in Rivera’s slaying during a separate trial in February 2006.