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Peru9 August 2005

Journalist probing colleague’s murder gets death threats

Reporters Without Borders said today it was very concerned about death threats received by Hugo Gonzáles Hinostroza, of the daily paper Expresión (in the northern city of Huaraz), and called for him to be given special protection.

The journalist is investigating the murder of a colleague, Antonio de la Torre, of a local radio station, Orbita, who was killed on 14 February 2004, reportedly on the orders of a former local mayor.

"These threats must be taken very seriously because they seem to be linked with Gonzáles Hinostroza’s enquiries. We call on the authorities to give him protection so he can complete them."

A phone caller warned him on 6 August, in the most alarming of several such calls, to drop his investigation and threatened to kill him or his family if he did not. The journalist recently criticised the undue slowness of legal action in the case.

Gonzáles Hinostroza suspects aides of Amaro León León, a former mayor of Yungay (Huaraz), where de la Torre was killed, of making the threats. The ex-mayor, suspected of ordering the murder, has been in prison since 18 March 2004 and had tried to block publication of a report criticising him.

Gonzáles Hinostroza has asked for special protection from the Huaraz sub-prefecture.



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