Court In El Salvador Sentences 10 Gang Members to Prison For Killing Of Journalist Christian Poveda
March 11, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — A court in El Salvador sentenced 10 gang members and a police officer to lengthy prison terms for the 2009 killing of a French filmmaker, who made a documentary about a gang in the country.
The court announced late Wednesday that it had sentenced Jose Melara of the Mara 18 gang to 30 years for ordering the killing of Christian Poveda, whose documentary “La Vida Loca” was about the group’s violent daily activities. Two other gang members were sentenced to 20 years, one for shooting Poveda and another for acting as a lookout.
Seven other Mara 18 members were given four years for covering up the killing, as was former policeman Juan Napoleon Espinoza who was convicted as an accessory to the crime.
“The conviction of 11 men in the murder of Poveda sends an important message that impunity in crimes against journalists will not be tolerated,” said Carlos Lauría, the senior program coordinator for the Americas for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Poveda was a 52-year-old Frenchman of Spanish descent, who lived with gang members for 18 months and videotaped brutal killings, rites of initiation, and the judicial system’s ineffectiveness in combating gangs. Police in El Salvador found Poveda’s body on September 2, 2009, laid out near his car on a road in the town of Tonacatepeque, about 10 miles from San Salvador.
He had previously received death threats from gang members angry about his film.
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- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a strongly-worded call Thursday for Cuba to free American contractor Alan Gross.
- The U.S. government on Thursday gave authorization to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to handle direct flights to Cuba.
- Honduran police have for the first time uncovered a cocaine lab in the country.
- Bolivian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for the wife of a top counternarcotics official who U.S. officials say ran a cocaine-trafficking band.
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos warned companies on Thursday against paying off guerrillas and illegal armed groups that threaten their workers.
- The Ecuadoran ambassador to Washington launched a defense of his country’s judicial system following a U.S. federal judge’s decision Tuesday that would prevent indigenous plaintiffs from enforcing an $8.6 billion judgment against oil giant Chevron Corp.
- FBI agents are traveling to Peru to study a laptop belonging to Joran Van der Sloot, who was arrested twice in connection with the Natalee Holloway case.
- Brazil plans to address its trade deficit with the U.S. during President Barack Obama’s visit later this month.
- An Argentine judge says Americans committed no crimes when a U.S. military team flew in undeclared cargo after an invitation to provide training to Argentine federal police.
- The Chilean government Thursday rushed to Congress the fuel price subsidy bill to protect consumers from the increases in fuel prices seen in recent weeks.
Image: jordillar_foto @ Flickr.