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WAN renews call for justice for murdered African journalist

The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and World Editors Forum (WEF) have renewed their call for a "thorough and impartial" investigation into the murder of journalist Norbert Zongo of Burkina Faso, who was killed nine years ago today, December 13.

"We are seriously concerned that, after nine years, the failure to bring Zongo’s murderers to justice only increases the appearance of political influence in the judicial process and adds to suspicions that the killers have, in effect, been granted impunity," said a letter from WAN and WEF to Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso, and to the European Union Commissioner of External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. The EU funds numerous development projects in the country.

"We respectfully call on you to ensure that the political protection apparently being afforded to Zongo’s murderers is removed and that a thorough and impartial investigation is carried out. We urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that the killers and all those who have protected them are swiftly brought to justice," the letter said.

Zongo, a reporter of the weekly L’Indépendant, was killed on December 13, 1998. He was investigating the death of David Ouédraogo, who was killed by members of the Presidential Security Regiment after being arrested on suspicion of stealing from his employer, François Compaore, the brother of the president.

The letters said:

"On the ninth anniversary of the murder of journalist Norbert Zongo, we are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications in 102 countries, to express our serious concern at the continued failure of the police and courts to bring his killer to justice.

"Mr Zongo was an investigative journalist and editor of the weekly L’Indépendant. His charred body was found in his car on 13 December 1998. At the time of his death he had been investigating the circumstances in which David Ouédraogo, the chauffeur of your brother François, died at the hands of members of the Presidential Security Regiment after being arrested on suspicion of stealing from his employer.

"We are seriously concerned that, after nine years, the failure to bring Mr Zongo’s murderer to justice only increases the appearance of political influence in the judicial process and adds to suspicions that the killer has, in effect, been granted impunity.

"We respectfully call on you to ensure that the political protection apparently being afforded to Mr Zongo’s murderer is removed and that a thorough and impartial investigation is carried out. We urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that the killer and all those who have protected him are swiftly brought to justice."

Date posted: December 13, 2007 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 468