27 February 2006

Alert

Security guard fires upon journalist


Incident details

José Alberto Gatgens

journalist(s)

attacked

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(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is outraged at the 20 February 2006 shooting attack on José Alberto Gatgens, correspondent with the newspaper "La Nación". The journalist was fired upon as he left a shopping mall in Guápiles, northeast of the capital, San José. RSF is shocked that the assailant is being charged only with a firearms infraction.

"In what way does a journalist conducting his profession represent a threat to a shopping mall? And how can one explain the guard's opening fire when José Alberto Gatgens had already departed the grounds? We hope that the reckless guard in question is definitively banned from carrying firearms in future. Nonetheless, it is strange that he has been accused only of a firearms infraction. Should someone who illegally fires upon another person be charged with arms possession, or with a shooting crime? We fear that this legal process is flawed from the outset," declared RSF.

On 20 February at about 11:00 a.m. (local time), Gatgens was preparing a report on a casino located in a shopping mall in Guápiles. He was looking into alleged irregularities in the issuing of municipal gambling licenses. As he shot photos of the gaming room, two guards detained, threatened and insulted him. The journalist immediately left the scene, accompanied by the taxi driver that had brought him there.

Once Gatgens had already entered the cab, he saw that one of the guards was firing upon him, discharging six bullets. Two shots struck and damaged the body of the vehicle. Neither Gatgens nor the driver were hurt. Gatgens told the press he could not be certain if the guard was firing at him or at the car.

Three days later, the journalist lodged a complaint with judicial authorities. The accused shooter, whose identity has not been revealed, was arrested and detained, but released only a few hours later. The public prosecutor of San José announced that an arms infraction charge has been filed against the guard.



Source

Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
rsf (@) rsf.org


Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
Costa Rica

IFEX members working in this country 1

 
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