El Salvador: arrest in FMLN mayor’s murder

From the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), April 30:

Attorney General’s office announces capture of suspects in assassination of FMLN Mayor
In the early dawn hours of April 14, El Salvador’s National Civilian Police (PNC) arrested Isabel Cortés and Marvin Antonio Rodriguez and charged them with January’s double murder of Wilber Funes, mayor of the town of Alegría, and municipal employee Zulma Rivera. Cortés is a member of the Alegría city council who was elected along with Funes on the FMLN party ticket in 2006.

After three months of silence regarding the investigation into the assassinations, the Attorney General’s office and the PNC put forward their explanation of the crimes, attributing the murders to personal differences between the mayor and Cortés. The prosecutor in charge of the case, René Peña, declared that “we can say with certainty that there was not a political motive,” as had been originally suspected.

Sigfrido Reyes, FMLN spokesman, warned that “in no way are we going permit [these arrests] to become a smokescreen that serves as cover for the true perpetrators of this deed.” Funes and Rivera were killed on January 9 when, en route to monitor progress on a public works project, they pulled over to the side of a rural road to help another motorist, who then shot them and fled.

The FMLN has demanded a thorough investigation, as well as proof that the two captured suspects are responsible for the murders of Funes and Rivera. CISPES has also expressed concern about lack of government investigation into possible political violence in recent years, and will be investigating the conduct of the National Civilian Police and the U.S.-funded International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) during an upcoming delegation to El Salvador in June.

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