10 July 2003


RSF calls for results in investigation on second anniversary of radio journalist Parmenio Medina's death

Incident details

Parmenio Medina



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(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has called on Costa Rican authorities to accelerate their investigation of the murder of radio journalist Parmenio Medina on 7 July 2001.

"Last year, on the first anniversary of his killing, we welcomed the official efforts made to determine the truth," RSF Secretary General Robert Ménard said in a letter to President Abel Pacheco. "But now, a year later, we are concerned about the lack of clear progress in the case. We especially fear that a 3 July search of the home of Minor Calvo, a priest and suspect in the case, was just a show for the media. We call on you to do everything you can to ensure that this crime is punished. Such a cowardly deed must remain an exception in the history of the Costa Rican media," he said, noting that Medina's assassination was seen as a warning to the country's investigative journalists.

Medina, the well-known host of a satirical radio programme, "La Patada" ("The Kick"), on Radio Monumental, was shot close to his home, near the capital, San José. A gunman fired three shots at him before fleeing with his accomplices.

The investigation was handed to the Prosecutor's Office in Heredia. Medina was reportedly killed by four petty criminals. The local media have reported that two of them are in prison in connection with the case. They are Luis Alberto Jaime Aguirre, a Nicaraguan suspected of being directly involved, and Andrés Chaves Matarrita, an accomplice believed to have helped one of the killers get away. Aguirre is said to have been identified by at least five witnesses.

Another of the presumed murderers, César Dionisio ("Nicho") Murillo, was killed in a bank robbery in May 2002. The killers were reportedly paid 10 million colones (approx. US$25,000; 22,000 euros) to shoot Medina because he possessed damaging information about a businessman.

A Colombian refugee living in Costa Rica, John Gilberto Gutiérrez Ramírez, was arrested in San José on 23 December 2002 on suspicion of being a link between the killers and those who planned the assassination. He was reportedly turned in by Murillo's girlfriend, who said he had taken part in several meetings to plan the murder at Murillo's home at Campo Cinco, in the eastern town of Cariari de Pococí.

Gutiérrez Ramírez was freed on 26 March 2003 after his lawyer produced a document showing that Murillo began renting the house three months after the murder. On 22 May, however, the head of the police criminal investigation department, Jorge Rojas Vargas, told the media he has doubts about the document's authenticity.


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