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Popular Peruvian ex-minister charged in 1988 murder of journalist

FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2014 file photo, Peru's Interior Minister Daniel Urresti talks with the press during the presentation of seized drugs at a police base in Lima, Peru. Urresti, a former army general, has been charged with murdering a journalist during the country's conflicts 26 years ago, prosecutor Luis Landa announced. Landa said in interviews published Sunday, March 1, 2105 by three newspapers that he is seeking a 25-year prison term for Urresti based on evidence that, as local army intelligence chief at the time, he was responsible for the murder of Hugo Bustios. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2014 file photo, Peru's Interior Minister Daniel Urresti talks with the press during the presentation of seized drugs at a police base in Lima, Peru. Urresti, a former army general, has been charged with murdering a journalist during the country's conflicts 26 years ago, prosecutor Luis Landa announced. Landa said in interviews published Sunday, March 1, 2105 by three newspapers that he is seeking a 25-year prison term for Urresti based on evidence that, as local army intelligence chief at the time, he was responsible for the murder of Hugo Bustios. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia, File)  (The Associated Press)

A Peruvian prosecutor has formally accused a popular former interior minister of murdering a journalist who covered the country's brutal internal conflict.

Luis Landa said in press interviews published Sunday that he is seeking a 25-year prison term for Daniel Urresti based on evidence that the retired army general was responsible for the murder of Hugo Bustios.

Bustios was a correspondent for the national magazine Caretas in the highlands town of Huanta. He was shot and then finished off with a grenade while investigating rights abuses in 1988.

Landa did not return repeated telephone messages left on his cell phone. Nor did chief prosecutor Pablo Sanchez.

Urresti was the government's most popular minister before being replaced last month. He is widely seen as a potential contender in 2016 presidential elections.