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Peru13 January 2009

In highly suspicious move, terrorism charges brought against left-wing investigative reporter

Reporters Without Borders would like to know exactly why Raúl Wiener, the head of the investigative section of the left-wing daily La Primera, has been charged with a “crime against public peace” and “terrorism” after revealing that the same charges had been brought against 13 leading Peruvian leftists with alleged links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Wiener is due to be questioned for the first time in connection with the charges tomorrow.

“The addition of Wiener’s name to the list of 13 people already charged is suspicious,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Do the intelligence services just want to know his sources? If that is the case, they could have just summoned him as a witness even if that would also have violated a basic principle of press freedom. And if a journalist with a left-wing newspaper investigates a case involving the FARC, is that grounds for suspecting him and his newspaper of being in cahoots with this armed group?”

Wiener told Reporters Without Borders that he received a formal notification on 11 January that he was summoned for questioning on 14 January “as a defendant” in case in which the charges were “crime against public peace and terrorism.” The notification offered no further details.

It was Wiener who revealed in November that 13 leading members of the Peruvian left were being investigated on these very same charges because their names were found in the laptop of FARC deputy leader Raúl Reyes, who was killed by the Colombian army in northern Ecuador on 1 March 2008. Wiener also reported that the police had asked the judicial authorities to detain all 13 of them.

“They want to silence me,” Wiener told Reporters Without Borders. “They want me to stop denouncing police abuses. They want to know how I obtained documents about the investigation. I am not going to reveal my sources. Initially they were investigating 13 left-wing leaders. Now I am the 14th, although my name never turned up in this computer.”

Wiener believes he is the victim of political “reprisals and revenge.” The charges brought against him have already caused an outcry in the Peruvian national congress. The government has denied any involvement.

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