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Guatemala27 September 2005

Journalist watched and followed after being told his days are numbered

Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about the mounting threats to Edwin Paxtor of “TV Enfasis,” a programme on a local station in the south-eastern city of Chiquimula, who has been receiving anonymous phone calls and has been followed and watched since 11 September.

“We call on Mario Castañeda, the special prosecutor for crimes against journalists and trade unions, to move quickly to ensure Paxtor’s safety,” the press freedom organisations said.

In an anonymous phone call on 11 September from a man using “foul language,” Paxtor was told his days were numbered. Since then he has noticed suspicious-looking individuals apparently watching his home. He has also been followed by cars several times.

The threats began after the broadcasting of a report on 25 July about an attack on a group of youths by members of the police criminal investigation department. Paxtor said he now holds this police department responsible for whatever happens to him.

The case is currently with a lower court and has been reported to the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against journalists and trade unions.

This is not the first time Paxtor’s life has been in danger. He and fellow journalists Rolando Hernández and Arnulfo Ortiz of the newspaper Vanguardia Informativa were attacked by machete-wielding former members of the paramilitary Civilian Self-Defence Patrols (PAC) during a protest on 11 July. The ex-paramilitaries were demonstrating to press their demand for more government compensation for the help they gave the army during the 1960-96 civil war.

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