Daniel Urresti, a Nationalist Party candidate vying to be Lima’s next mayor, has been cleared of charges that he was involved in the 1988 murder of journalist Hugo Bustíos.
The acquittal comes just in time for Urresti, who is currently believed to be one of the leading candidates in the mayoral race. He came in second in a recent poll done by the Peruvian newspaper La República. The municipal and regional elections will be held throughout Peru on Sunday.
Prosecutors had previously requested a 25-year sentence for Urresti in the cold case murder of Bustíos, who was investigating human rights abuses by those in power in the country. A soldier who had been convicted of Bustíos’ murder told authorities that the orders were given by Urresti, who was in charge of military intelligence at the time.
Third party organizations like the Committee to Protect Journalists have responded with their indignation of Urresti’s acquittal by the Peruvian court.
“CPJ is extremely disappointed by today’s acquittal of Daniel Urresti,” said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick. “Hugo Bustíos’ family and colleagues have already waited 30 years to see justice for his murder and now they must keep waiting. Today’s decision is a major setback in the fight against impunity in Peru and a blow for journalist safety.”
Back in 1997, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that the Peruvian government was responsible for Bustíos’ killing. Urresti wasn’t charged until 2015 after two soldiers had already been convicted.
Urresti was the former Minister of the Interior under Ollanta Humala.