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February 23, 2010
Court acquits man charged with murder of journalist José Duviel Vásquez
Diana Calderón, RRU- Colombia

The Florencia Specialized Circuit Criminal Court in the Colombian province of Caquetá acquitted Tiberio Hernán Bocanegra, a member of the 61st Front of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) guerrilla movement, who had been charged by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in November 2008 with having carried out the murder of José Duviel Vásquez, a reporter with La Voz de la Selva radio station.

Despite the fact that the acquittal was dated December 1, the Colombian Attorney General’s Office was not notified of it. “We did not receive word of this until December 10, when the ruling was already binding and although we insisted that they send us the decision by various routes, that was not possible,” the IAPA’s Rapid Response Unit was told by Assistant Public Prosecutor Armando Rincón.

The Attorney General’s Office, however, appealed the decision but the judge ruled the appeal to be out of time, causing the appellants to go to a higher court – the Florencia High Court, from which it is now awaiting a response.

The case of the murder of Duviel Vásquez had gone to court in November 2007, when at a lineup of convicts journalist Omar Orlando García identified the man he had seeing firing the shot that killed his colleague.

Duviel Vásquez had received threats from paramilitaries after disclosing the existence of a cassette tape in which former Florencia mayoress Lucrecia Murcia Lozado was heard to be handing money over to local council members. She accused Duviel of being “an informational terrorist.” He was later killed.

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