Posts Tagged ‘ryes Mena’

40-year-old murder case of Dutch IKON journalists in El Salvador sees arrests, finally

October 17, 2022

On Sunday 16 October 2022 the NYT carried the news from the investigative program Zembla in the Netherlands, saying that two suspects were arrested on Friday for the murder of four Dutch journalists in El Salvador in 1982. The arrests are the first in the 40-year-old murder case. For my on personal involvement in the case, see https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/09/25/murder-of-dutch-ikon-journalists-in-1982-in-el-salvador-revisted/

The arrested suspects, Defense Minister General Guillermo García and Colonel Francisco Antonio Morán, will be arraigned on Monday before a judge in Chalatenango. El Salvador has also requested the U.S. to extradite Colonel Mario Reyes Mena, another suspect in the case who is believed to be the main person responsible for the murders.

The case concerns the murder of four Dutch journalists who worked for the now-defunct public broadcaster IKON: Koos Koster, Jan Kuiper, Joop Willemsen and Hans ter Laag. They traveled to El Salvador in 1982 to report on families living in the guerrilla zone during the country’s 12-year civil war. They were ambushed and shot on March 17, 1982 by the Salvadoran army.

A 1993 UN Commission of Inquiry marked Colonel Reyes Mena as “responsible for planning the ambush and assassination,” according to Zembla. That same year, an amnesty law was passed in El Salvador, which meant that Reyes Mena could not be prosecuted in that country. The criminal investigation into the murders of the four Dutch journalists was launched in 2013 and El Salvador’s amnesty law was lifted in 2016. The result was that perpetrators of crimes during the Salvadoran Civil War can now be prosecuted.

Reyes Mena, now in his 80s, was discovered to be living in the U.S. in 2018. “The case has already been investigated, I have never been charged. You are part of a communist plan to retaliate,” Reyes Mena told Zembla journalists who confronted him about the murders.

According to Zembla, a Dutch justice is being dispatched to the Central American country to speak with the arrested suspects.

https://nltimes.nl/2022/10/16/two-arrests-made-40-year-old-murder-case-dutch-ikon-journalists-el-salvador