Businessman acquitted of bomb attack murder
14 March 2006, SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA — A Spanish businessman was acquitted of the murder of a Bolivian lawyer after a two-year legal battle.
14 March 2006
SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA — A Spanish businessman was acquitted of the murder of a Bolivian lawyer after a two-year legal battle.
A court in Santa Cruz acquitted Javier Villanueva who had been accused of the murder in February 2004 of Monica Von Borries.
The tribunal in the eastern city of Santa Cruz announced Villanueva's acquittal at the beginning of the fifth week of the trial in a prosecution that began nearly two years ago.
Also found not guilty was Freddy Hurtado, while Brazilian national Ricardo Borba was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Upon hearing the verdict, Villanueva wept and embraced his father, Francisco, in a courtroom packed with reporters.
Judge Jaime Cruz, who headed a tribunal that included another magistrate and three lay jurors, said the acquittals of Villanueva and Hurtado were dictated by a lack of sufficient evidence against them.
The prosecution maintained that Villanueva, Borba and Hurtado were behind a bomb attack in February 2004 which claimed the life of Von Borries, who was then prosecuting a criminal band led by an Italian, Marco Marino Diodato, and allegedly included the three defendants as well as Sandro de Carvalho, another Brazilian.
Diodato and De Carvalho remain at large.
Javier Villanueva de Martino is a 29-year-old businessman from the southern Spanish city of Seville who has lived in Bolivia for just over five years.
He was first arrested in April 2004 and spent more than 18 months behind bars before being granted house arrest last November, when he was moved to an apartment in Santa Cruz.
Villanueva has claimed repeatedly that he was the victim of a plot hatched by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, though he never offered any details of the alleged scheme.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news