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Threatening e-mail targets Colombian Federation of Journalists and four journalists

(FLIP/IFEX) - On 17 February 2011, an email was circulated that contained death threats against political leaders, non-governmental organizations, including the Colombian Federation of Journalists (Federación Colombiana de Periodistas, FECOLPER), as well as four journalists.

The message, which appears to be signed by a block of the "Águilas Negras", reads: "Now is the time to exterminate and wipe out all people and organisations that pose as human rights defenders, those that infiltrate NGOs, journalists, and women's groups that meddle in things that don't have to do with them."

The email also said it was "a death threat against social organisations that continue to pull apart the policies and the consciousness of the people". It targets various people, including the following journalists: Eduardo Márquez, president of FECOLPER; Hollman Morris, editor of Contravía; Daniel Coronell, editor of Noticias Uno; Marcos Perales Mendoza, editor of Periódico Portada de Bucaramanga and journalist Claudia Julieta Duque, from Radio Nizkor.

FLIP spoke with the journalists and the majority of them said they had not been told about the email. Eduardo Márquez said he had not received previous threats, but did say that the email appeared at a time when FECOLPER has been following up on the murder of journalist Clodomiro Castilla in Córdoba and providing support to journalists in Tolima.

Claudia Julieta Duque said that this was a direct attack on journalists and that is was "very strange that the Botogá block of the Águilas Negras was threatening regional groups as well as journalists that cover national topics".

The email also mentioned human rights organisations such as the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento, Codhes) and the League of Displaced Women (la Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas).

Police Captain Luis Fernando Atuesta, head of a police department dedicated to technological investigations, told FLIP that he was not aware of the situation but that he would be moving forward with investigations into the source of the email.

FLIP condemns these threats and is concerned that this method of intimidation via email is increasingly being used against the press in various parts of the country. Two weeks earlier a similar email was sent in Valle del Cauca which threatened three journalists.

Investigations thus far have produced no results. FLIP calls on the Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Police to provide the appropriate means of protection for those threatened and on the Federal Attorney General's Office to prosecute those responsible.


(Please note this is an abridged translation.)
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