José Luis Cabezas: what happened to Argentinian photojournalist featured in new Netflix doc Murder in Pinamar?

A new Netflix true crime documentary revisits a shocking murder in Argentina that exposed a major conspiracy

A true-crime documentary coming to Netflix, The Photographer: Murder in Pinamar, revisits the brutal kiling of Argentinian photographer José Luis Cabezas that sparked a national outcry in Argentina.

The murder made front page headlines across the country in 1997 and exposed corruption at the top or Argentinan society.

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The Spanish language documentary explores the motive for Cabezas’ murder, the investigation into his death and capture of those believed to have been involved in the killing.

Murder in Pinamar shines a light on the corruption that was endemic in Argenitinian business and politics at the time, and how it was this corruption that Cabezas was trying to uncover.

José Luis Cabezas was tortured and killed in 2017 for photographing Alfredo Yabrán

Who was José Luis Cabezas?

Cabezas was a photojournalist working for Noticias, a weekly Spanish language news magazine that was widely read in Argentina.

In 1996, Cabezas snapped a photo of Alfredo Yabrán, an Argentinian businessman who was well connected with the government, while he was in Pinamar, an exclusive Argentinian seaside resort.

Yabrán was one of Argentina’s most preeminent businessmen, but allowed noone to take his photo - journalists who had previously conducted research into his affairs had been threatened.

After the photograph was published it is alleged that Yabrán ordered Cabezas to be killed - Cabezas was first kidnapped, handcuffed and tortured.

He was then taken into the countryside and shot twice in the head, his body was put into a vehicle rented by Noticias and burned.

Cabezas’ murder was seen as an attack on the free press and was met with a strong response in Argentinian society.

Human rights groups, media associations and members of the public took to the streets to protest for justice for Cazebas.

Photojournalists and activists demonstrate during the 20th Anniversary of photographer Jose Luis Cabezas murder

Who was Alfredo Yabrán?

Yabrán was a well-connected but secretive businessman who had been accused of using his companies as fronts for money laundering, transporting drugs and weapons trafficking.

In 1998, just over a year after Cabezas’ death Yabrán was found dead in an apparent sucicide - he had died by a shotgun blast to the face.

During his life Yabrán had been accused of operating like a Mafia boss and of having cabinet ministers and judges in his pocket.

His suspected involvement in Cazebas’ death embarrassed many high ranking politicians who were connected to Yabrán, including Argentinian President Carlos Menem, and Justice Minister Elias Jassan, who resigned over phone calls he made to Yabrán’s bodyguards the day after Cazeba was killed.

What happened to Cazebas’ killers?

Several people were arrested in connection with the murder, although it was widely belived that those arrested were scapegoats - Yabrán was not charged over the killing and died before any trials took place.

Several people from the Los Horneros area of Buenos Aires were charged over the killing at a trial in 2000, and sentenced to life imprisonment - however, by 2017 they had all been released.

Two police officers were also sentenced for the crime - Sergio Camaratta and Anibal Luna - Camratta died in prison in 2015 and Luna was eventually released.

Noticias ran an article on the Buenos Aires police accusing them of rampant corruption and alleging that they had ties with prostitution, drug trafficking and illegal gambling.

When is the Murder in Pinamar release date?

The Photographer: Murder in Pinamar will be released on Netflix on 19 May.