Freedom of Expression

Press Release R66/11







Washington D.C., July 7, 2011 – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemns the murder of freelance journalist Luis Eduardo Gómez, on Thursday June 30 in the town of Arboletes, Region of Urabá in the province of Antioquia, Colombia. The Office of the Special Rapporteur asks the authorities to conduct prompt and diligent investigations to establish the motive of the crimes, and to identify and appropriately punish the perpetrators.


According to information available to this Office, the journalist was on his way home with his wife in the middle of the night when two unknown men intercepted them, fired several against him and fled on a motorcycle.


The 70 year old journalist did freelance work for newspapers El Heraldo de Urabá and Urabá al Día, where he wrote about tourism and the environment. He was known for his investigations on management of public resources by local government, his involvement with the investigation of the death of his son and his demands to the State on the progress of said investigation, as well as for his role as witness to the Public Attorney in "Parapolítica" cases in the region.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the Colombian authorities firmly pursuing the investigations, prosecution, and appropriate punishment of the perpetrators of this crime, as well as the just compensation of the victims’ relatives.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur reminds the State of Brazil that the ninth principle of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states that "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."


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