Journalist murder haunts career of Peruvian presidential aspirant

Daniel Urresti charged in the 1988 killing of reporter Hugo Bustíos Saavedra

New York, September 17, 2015–Almost 30 years after Peruvian war correspondent Hugo Bustíos Saavedra was shot dead, Daniel Urresti Elera–a presidential candidate for the ruling Nationalist Party–has been charged with his murder and is currently on trial. A new report released today by the Committee to Protect Journalists, titled “Peru’s Urresti has eyes on presidency despite being charged in 1988 journalist murder,” traces the circumstances of the emblematic case and the implications of the ongoing trial in the fight against impunity in journalist murders.

Bustíos was a reporter for influential weekly newsmagazine Caretas, covering human rights abuses committed by both sides during the government’s counterinsurgency campaign against Shining Path guerrillas. He was killed on November 24, 1988, in an ambush on the outskirts of Huanta. The killing caused a sensation in Peru and abroad because witnesses said that Bustíos and another reporter who was wounded in the attack were deliberately targeted by an army patrol.

In February 2015, Urresti was formally charged with murder. The trial is expected to last six to eight months. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison. Urresti, a former interior minister and army general, says he is innocent and describes the lawsuit as part of a campaign to snuff out his presidential ambitions. “I have nothing to hide,” he told John Otis, CPJ Andes Correspondent and author of the report, in an interview in April.

Together with Human Rights Watch and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), CPJ brought the case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In 1997 the commission found the Peruvian state responsible for the murder of Bustíos.

Since the end of the conflict, a climate of impunity persists in Peru. Since CPJ began keeping records in 1992, eight journalists have been killed there. All of them were murdered.


CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide

Note to editors:

The report is available in English and Spanish.

Media contact:

Ashley Parent
Communications Associate
Tel: +1.212.300.9032
Email: [email protected]