New York, March 18, 2016–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the sentencing today of former paramilitary fighter Mario Jaimes Mejía who, according to reports, was handed a 28-year prison term for the kidnap, rape, and torture of Colombian journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima in 2000. Last month, Alejandro Cárdenas Orozco, a former paramilitary fighter, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the kidnap and torture of Bedoya.
“After a 15-year battle against impunity, this second sentence is another significant step forward in Jineth Bedoya Lima’s fight for justice,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ senior program coordinator for the Americas. “We call on authorities to continue the pursuit for justice by convicting all those responsible.”
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. 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 included in the 2016 edition of CPJ’s Attacks on the Press, which will be published on April 27.