Conrado Garcia Jamin
Cabezas was kidnapped as he left a birthday party thrown for Oscar Andreani, a postal service mogul. He was beaten, handcuffed, tortured, and taken to a pit in the countryside. There he was killed with two shots to the head. His body was placed inside a vehicle rented by Noticias, and burned.
The murder happened just as the press in Argentina enjoyed the best public image. Noticias was and is still known for its exposures of allegedly corrupt individuals and institutions. The murder of Cabezas was viewed as an attack on independent journalism by those institutions. The media, journalist associations, human rights groups and many lay people took to the streets to ask for swift justice; there were marches, caravans of vehicles and trains, public rallies, all sorts of homages, photo expositions. A popular slogan, No se olviden de Cabezas (“Don’t forget Cabezas”) became the symbol for this need of justice and a warning for those unaware of the people’s frustration with impunity.
In due time, the investigation led to the detention of five owners of Mar del Plata-area brothels (Los Pepitos), a police informant called Carlos Redruello, a police officer called Gustavo Prellezo and four minors from the Los Hornos area (Los Horneros). In each case the public largely believed that these people were being used as scapegoats, in order to cover up maneuvers by Buenos Aires Province Governor Eduardo Duhalde. Prellezo was linked to two other policemen, Sergio Cammarata and Aníbal Luna, who had been following Cabezas, and were also detained. Prellezo’s wife, Silvia Belawsky (also a police officer), was revealed to have requested background information on Cabezas a few weeks before the crime.
Two distinct lines of investigation took shape. One focused on Buenos Aires’ provincial police (Policía Bonaerense, PB); the other on one of the prominent businessman Alfredo Yabrán.
Noticias published an investigation about the PB, alleguing the PB’s practices were plagued with corruption and illegal violence, and it (the PB) had ties to prostitution, drug trafficking, and illegal gambling. The title of this article, Maldita Policía (“Damned Police”), became the nickname of the PB in the media.
Alfredo Yabrán allowed no one to take photos of him, and was proud to claim that not even the intelligence services had one, even though he was one of the most notorious businessmen on Argentina. He had good relations with the government and a way to eliminate competition. Several journalists who had tried to get into Yabrán’s secrets had been threatened or attacked.
In 1996, José Luis Cabezas took a picture of Yabrán in Pinamar and Noticias published it, along with news about his businesses. In 1997, Cabezas and his fellow journalist Gabriel Michi continued the investigation, ultimately trying to get an interview. Cabezas and Michi then began to see signs that their research was bothering Yabrán. The murder took place a few days later.
SAD UPDATE: ACCUSED LEFT PRISON
Gustavo Prellezo, the Buenos Aires police who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2000 for the murder of photographer José Luis Cabezas, left prison to accomplish domiciliary prison.
Cabezas’ murderer was benefited because he “suffers from a disease that has worsened in recent times and needs an environment with no moisture. Prellezo has respiratory problems and osteoarthritis,” said the magistrate Fernando Sotelo.
His lawyer had requested the release for the alleged execution of the sentence, but the judges refused this request and granted the opportunity to serve the remaining of the sentence at home with remote monitoring system through an electronic ankle bracelet.
Following an investigation of more than a year, held by Judge José Luis Macchi and a two-month trial, the Court concluded that Prellezo was co-author of his murder.
Read spanish update in http://barbarosdelnorte.blogspot.com