1 August 2001


News agency personnel receive death threats

Incident details

death threat

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(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to Minister of the Interior Byron Barrientos, RSF expressed concern over the death threats received by personnel of the news agency Center of Informative Reports on Guatemala (Centro de Reportes informativos sobre Guatemala, Cerigua), in Guatemala City. The organisation called for a rigorous investigation into the threats so that those responsible can be arrested and punished. "It is the state's duty to guarantee the safety of journalists, who should be able to exercise their profession without fearing for their lives," stated Robert Ménard, RSF's secretary-general. Ménard recalled that in the last six months at least four journalists in the country have been threatened and a number of editorial offices have been subject to intimidation (see IFEX alerts of 3 July, 17, 6 and 2 April and 30 March 2001).

According to information collected by RSF, a Cerigua journalist received a death threat in a 23 July 2001 telephone call. On 10 July 2000, a threatening call was received at the offices of Cerigua, warning the agency's director, Ileana Alamilla, to "watch herself." In a 23 June 2000 threat, agency employees were told: "We already know where you are and we are going to kill you" (see IFEX alert of 14 July 2000). Cerigua was founded in 1983 and in the past was linked to the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional de Guatemala, UNRG) guerilla movement, which today is a recognised political party.


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