Jonathan Cockborn Delgado, a man previously wanted for armed robbery, was sentenced yesterday to 28 years in prison for the murder of Televisión de Honduras producer and presenter Jorge Alberto “Georgino” Orellana, who was gunned down outside the TV station in the northern city of San Pedro Sula on 20 April 2010.
Prosecutors said the murder was not related to Orellana’s work as a journalist and that Cockburn shot him in the head at close range in order to take his mobile phone, which he was using at the time. The San Pedro court convicted Cockburn of robbery and using another person’s identity, as well as murder.
"The justice system has issued its verdict," Reporters Without Borders said. "The motive was as derisory as it was cruel, but unfortunately it is a common one in a country with one of the highest annual murder rates in the world – 80 per 100,000. This conviction should not let us forget the many murders of journalists in the past decade, especially since the June 2009 coup that are still unsolved.
"We reiterate our firm belief that combating impunity requires a complete overhaul of the police and judicial system, whose members are often accomplices to violations of freedom of information targeting not only journalists but also human rights defenders and civil society representatives who are alternative sources of information."
A total of eight journalists were killed in the first half of 2010, the period during which Orellana was murdered. The latest journalist to be killed was Maya TV producer Julio César Casaleno, who was acting as police spokesman at the time of his death on 28 August 2012.