Court sentences accomplice in 2011 murder of Dominican journalist
He ordenado una investigación entorno a la amenaza recibida por la periodista @AliciaOrtegah quien cuenta con todo nuestro respaldo y solidaridad. Damos seguimiento estrecho a esta situación y tomamos desde ya las medidas de lugar para garantizar ante todo, su integridad física.— Jean Rodríguez (@JeanARodriguezS) April 3, 2018
On 4th April 2018, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that Alicia Ortega, an investigative journalist with the media outlet Noticias SIN, was threatened by inmates in La Victoria Prison. According to the report, the journalist was threatened because of a segment in Ortega's show about Matías Avelino Castro who is currently being held in La Victoria for ordering the murder of journalist José Agustín Silvestre. Silvestre was a director for a magazine and television host who was shot dead in August 2011. The National Attorney announced that his office will investigate the threats Ortega faced, to which CPJ responded:
"We are encouraged by the Dominican authorities' response to the threats against Alicia Ortega and call on them to act swiftly to ensure the journalist's safety and to identify and hold accountable those responsible for the threats".
In a positive and related development, on 11th April 2018 a court sentenced Matías Avelino Castro to 20 years in prison for his involvement in the 2011 murder of journalist José Agustín Silvestre. In response to the court's decision, CPJ Program Director Carlos Martínez de la Serna stated:
"We applaud the steps taken by authorities to bring the killers of journalist José Agustín Silvestre to justice. This conviction is a sign that the Dominican Republic takes the murders of journalists seriously".
On 16th March 2018, the Dominican National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) denounced and condemned the attack on Pedro Baldera, president of CNDH's chapter in the northeastern city of Moca. His car was burned inside his own garage. CNDH has requested an immediate and thorough investigation. Baldera is also an active member of Movimiento Marcha Verde (Green March Movement) - a social movement organising peaceful protests over the Odebrecht corruption scandal in the country.