OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR EXPRESSES SATISFACTION FOR GUILTY VERDICT AGAINST A MURDERER OF CAMERAMAN IN EL SALVADOR
According to the information received, on May 31st the Specialized Court of Sentences A in
Alfredo Hurtado was on his way to work on the night of Monday, April 25, 2011, when two armed men boarded the bus in which he was riding and shot him several times. The killers did not steal any of his belongings. Hurtado worked as a cameraman on the night shift for the news program Teleprensa, on Channel 33, and had more than 20 years of work experience. On a daily basis, he covered criminal activity and information related to gang violence. According to the information available, Martínez and Abrego allegedly shot Hurtado because they believed that his work may have allowed him to identify a member of a gang involved in another murder. The Office of the Special Rapporteur condemned the murder of Hurtado on May 2, 2011, and asked the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation that took into account the possibility that the crime might have been motivated by the victim’s work in journalism.
Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR states: "The murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation."
The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression was created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to encourage the defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression in the hemisphere, given the fundamental role this right plays in consolidating and developing the democratic system.