August 12, 2014 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Radio journalist murdered, authorities should not rule out journalism connection

Reporters Without Borders supports the efforts of Peru’s National Association of Journalists (ANP) to ensure that the police do not rule out the possibility that radio journalist Donny Buchelli Cueva’s brutal murder was linked to his work. A month after Buchelli was found murdered in his home in the northwestern province of Pacasmayo, the investigation has ground to a halt despite the arrests of two suspects and earlier references by the police to several leads, including a possible connection to the victim’s journalism. Buchelli’s body was discovered inside his home on 10 July with the hands and feet bound and bearing the marks of torture. The police say his assailants beat him unconscious and then suffocated him. According to the autopsy, he was murdered on 8 July. The owner of radio Solimar and host of a news programme on Más Radio, he had recently launched a campaign to draw attention to the professional and ethical shortcomings of local election candidates. Colleagues are shocked by his murder and are adamant that he was not involved in any dubious activities. “We urge the authorities to continue actively pursuing this investigation so that Buchelli’s murder does not remain unpunished,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk. “What is the situation with the two suspects? We hope the elections will not obstruct the investigation.” The government must not turn a blind eye to the dangers to which journalists are constantly exposed in Peru. Recent targets include Yofré López, whose mother and stepfather were slightly injured by a dynamite attack on her home on the outskirts of Lima on 22 April. Government officials and politicians involved in serious abuses continue to go unpunished in Peru. Former army officer Daniel Urresti was appointed interior minister in June despite still being the subject of a judicial investigation for his suspected involvement in the 1988 murder of journalist Hugo Bustíos. Two people have been convicted of carrying out Bustíos’ murder but the case is still not closed 26 years later. Peru is ranked 104th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.