The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the recent conviction in the Dominican Republic of Edri Vladimir "Vla" Pujols for the 2004 murder of journalist Juan Andújar as a sign that the government would not allow journalist to be easy targets of violence and that their attackers would face prosecution.
“This is a sign that journalists cannot be killed with impunity in the Dominican Republic,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “And it sets a positive example for other Latin American and Caribbean countries like Mexico, Colombia and Haiti, where killings of journalists have become all too common.”
On 2 May, Pujols, a member of the "Los Zayayines" gang, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for Andújar’s murder. Juan Andújar, was a correspondent for daily newspaper Listín Diario in his native city of Azua. Pujols was also fined for the shooting of Jorge Luis Sención, a journalist for Radio Henriquillo, who had to have his arm amputated due to his injuries.
The IFJ, its regional Latin American and Caribbean group FEPALC and its Domincan member El Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Prensa (SNTP) de República Dominicana, campaigned vigorously for the conviction of Andújar’s killer. In a mission in 2005, White visited Santo Domingo and Azua to repeat the demande for justice for Andújar and Sención’s attackers.
Juan Ricardo Muñoz Herrera was sentenced to five years in jail and a fine on a conviction of conspiracy related to the case.
“Pujols managed to evade justice for a long time for this and other incidents but it is important that he has finally been punished for his crimes,” said Gregorio Salazar, IFJ Regional Coordinator for Latin America. “We consider it a just sentence for the magnitude of the premeditated and cruel attacks he committed against our colleagues.”
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide