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Community radio station director threatened, shot in the leg

(AMARC/IFEX) - 15 March 2011 - On 13 March 2011, Franklin Melendez, president of the administrative board of the La Voz de Zacate Grande community radio station, was shot in the leg and injured while trying to escape an attacker.

Around 6 p.m., two local residents, Jorge Sánchez Meléndez and Porfirio Medina, confronted Melendez about the issue of land reclamation. At the time, Melendez was playing billiards with two of the station's correspondents and a member of the International Human Rights Observation Mission, who is in the region as a result of recent attacks against La Voz de Zacate Grande. The two residents were upset about the station's coverage of the land dispute and asked Melendez, "Do you want to die?". Medina pulled a gun out and shot Melendez in the leg as he tried to flee.

Police did not arrive on the scene, but Melendez was assisted by his colleagues and taken to a clinic in Choluteca where he received medical attention and is currently in stable condition. Although the incident was reported to police, they have taken no action. Instead they called the station and asked them not to make a fuss about the shooting.

According to other members of the station, in the days after the attack they have received threatening messages and calls from the family of the assailant, Medina, trying to get the station to stop spreading information about the attack and accusing them of "talking shit".

AMARC condemns the attack against Melendez and calls on authorities to carry out an investigation and punish the assailant. The inaction by authorities in the La Voz de Zacate Grande case has allowed attacks against the station to continue with impunity. The life of Melendez is at risk and AMARC calls for security measures to be provided to him, his family and members of the radio station.

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