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Journalist brutally attacked

(Periodistas/IFEX) - On 29 December 1998, journalist Carlos Alberto "Gary"
Vila Ortiz was attacked by two men in the doorway of his home in the city of
Rosario. The men threatened to rape him by inserting a screw in his scrotum.
Vila Ortiz' attackers were scared away by the appearance of several
neighbourhood security guards, and they fled by jumping over the fence of a
nearby house and disappearing into the darkness of the night.

The attack occured while the 63-year old writer and journalist was home
writing articles around midnight, as was his habit, when somebody knocked on
his window. "After six years of threats and attacks one loses a certain
amount of care, and I went outside," he said. As soon as Vila Ortiz had
walked through the door of his house, two men jumped him, one grabbing his
arms and holding them behind him and the other pulling his swimming trunks
down. "When they told me 'we are going to rape you,' I reacted as I never
had before, and I managed to elbow the one who was holding me and that
forced him to move back. However, by then, the other one had already
finished doing his perverse task." This task consisted of inserting a screw
in the journalist's scrotum, inserting it to the point of piercing him,
although fortunately the journalist's testicles were not injured. (Precision
and brutality are characteristics of those who are professional torturers.)
At that moment, a neighbourhood security guard blew his whistle and started
running toward Vila Ortiz' house, causing the attackers to flee.

"This shows to what extent they can eliminate a journalist from the
inside.... In Rosario, except for my two weekly columns in 'Rosario/12' and
my jazz programme on FM Clasic, it would be hard for me to find work in
other media outlets. This demonstrates that it is not necessary to kill.
They strike simply with threats and beatings. Media outlets are afraid of
being harmed because of my presence. There are many ways of eliminating that
which is bothersome to those in power, and although I am not one who bothers
them too much, clearly, I bothered them", Vila Ortiz reflected.

The attacks against Vila Ortiz began six years ago. In 1994 he was forced to
abandon the managing editorship of the daily "La Capital" (the largest daily
in Rosario) after someone threatened his grandchildren with death at
gunpoint. In February 1995, three individuals stabbed him twelve times in
the stomach. The circumstances surrounding these attacks have never been

Recommended Action

Send letters of support and solidarity to:

Appeals To

The Rosario Press Union
J.M. de Rosas 958
2000 Rosario
Province of Santa Fe
Fax: +5 41 405918 / 408292

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