11 May 2009

Alert

Police officers in Valledupar assault photographer


Incident details

Emilio Castrillón

photographer(s)

assaulted

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(FLIP/IFEX) - On 4 May 2009, in the city of Valledupar, Cesar department, in northern Colombia, several police officers assaulted Emilio Castrillón, a photographer for the "El Pilón" newspaper. The incident took place when Castrillón was covering the scene of an explosion at a police precinct in the city. Two police officers and a civilian died in the explosion, the cause of which has yet to be determined. Journalists, including Castrillón, arrived to provide coverage of the effects of the explosion immediately after it took place. However, a group of police officers assaulted Castrillón when he began to take photographs of the damages.

An officer initially attempted to seize Castrillón's camera. Then several officers assaulted him. A journalist who was present at the scene of the incident said, "About 10 police officers jumped on top of him and injured him when he tried to take photographs."

Castrillón told FLIP that he was beaten and scratched on several parts of his body. He also said that his camera lens was broken. He noted that he did not cross into the area the police had cordoned off and that the only thing he may have done wrong was to enter the area in a hurried manner. "Maybe it was an error, but there was no need to react the way they did," he said.

FLIP attempted without success to contact the commander of the Valledupar police, Colonel Ramiro Tobo, to obtain his version of what took place.

FLIP calls on the Valledupar police to conduct a disciplinary investigation into the actions of the officers involved in the assault on Castrillón. The organisation also urges the police to provide freedom of expression and information rights training to their personnel.



Source

Foundation for Press Freedom
Calle 40 No. 22 - 17 Oficina 302
Bogotá
Colombia
info (@) flip.org.co
Phone: +571 400 96 77/78
Fax: +571 400 96 77
Colombia

IFEX members working in this country 2

 
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