May 21, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 First suspect convicted of journalist Orel Sambrano’s murder June 15, 2020 Find out more to go further News VenezuelaAmericas Organisation ——————————02.03.2010 – Breakthrough arrests of suspected instigators in two murders of journalists RSF_en Two journalists murdered just days apart in Venezuela News Follow the news on Venezuela Help by sharing this information The fight against impunity for violence against journalists saw significant progress on two fronts in late February in the form of the arrests of the alleged instigators of the 2009 murder of newspaper editor Orel Sambrano (photo) and the 2004 murder of radio presenter Mauro Marcano. A common feature of these two murders was that the victims had covered drug trafficking cases.Drug traffickers now figure among the western hemisphere’s worst predators of press freedom. Reporters Without Borders hopes that these suspects will be tried and convicted quickly as this will help to show that it is possible to stand up to organised crime.One of the suspects is former policeman David Antonio Yánez. He was arrested in an anti-drug operation on 21 February but he is to face trial on a charge of masterminding the 16 January 2009 murder of Sambrano. and the murder of Francisco Larrazábal, a key witness in a drug trafficking and money-laundering case against the Makleds, an influential business family in the central state of Carabobo.The editor of the regional weekly ABC, vice-president of privately-owned Radio América 890 AM and a columnist for the regional daily Notitarde, Sambrano had dared to criticise the Makled family’s activities. Yánez is the third person to be arrested for Sambrano’s murder. José Manuel Luque Daboín and another former police officer, Rafael Segundo Pérez, are being held on suspicion of being the hit men. The authorities are now investigating the possibility that Walid Makled was the mastermind.The other suspect is José Ceferino García, the reputed head of the Cartel del Sol in the northeastern state of Monagas, who was arrested for Marcano’s murder on the orders of an appeal court on 23 February.Arrested in Trinidad and Tobago and extradited in 2006, García was released two years later after being acquitted of the murder by a Monagas court. Suspecting that pressure had been put on the court, the public prosecutor’s office appealed against his acquittal. Accepting the petition, the appeal court has ruled that García should be retried before a different court.The host of a programme on Radio Maturín 1080 AM and a columnist for the regional daily El Oriental, Marcano had accused local police and military officials of collaborating with the Cartel del Sol shortly before his murder.Photo : globovision.com Receive email alerts New wave of censorship targeting critical media outlets News January 13, 2021 Find out more Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives August 25, 2020 Find out more News VenezuelaAmericas The leading suspect in the murder of journalist Orel Sambrano, former police officer Rafael Segundo Pérez, was sentenced on 19 May to 25 years in prison. He is the first person to be convicted for Sambrano’s murder. José Luque Daboín and another former police officer, David Antonio Yánez, are also to be tried for their role in the killing on 21 June. The editor of the political weekly ABC, vice-president of privately-owned Radio América 890 AM and a columnist for the regional daily Notitarde, Sambrano was gunned down in the central state of Carabobo on 16 January 2009, after covering several drug trafficking cases including one involving the Makleds, an influential business family in the region.Pérez has also admitted to having a hand in the murder of Francisco Larrazábal, a key witness in a drug trafficking and money-laundering case in which the Makled family was allegedly involved.Pérez’s conviction has raised hopes that justice will be fully rendered in the Sambrano case. This would be a major judicial advance.