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REGIONS:

Journalist under threat of attack in Popayán

(FLIP/IFEX) - On 14 October 2004, journalist Silvio Sierra Sierra, host of an opinion programme broadcast on Radio Super station and a correspondent for the Cali-based newspaper "El País", was informed of a plan to attack him in the city of Popayán, southwestern Colombia.

On the morning of 14 October, the National Police received an anonymous telephone call from an individual warning them about an alleged plan to attack the journalist.

When Sierra, who has been a journalist for 28 years, found out about the alleged plan, he filed a complaint with the Ombudsman's Office, the National Police's intelligence unit (Seccional de Inteligencia Judicial Investigativa, SIJIN) and the Public Prosecutor's Technical Investigations Unit (Cuerpo Técnico de Investigación, CTI).

Sierra told FLIP that the threat could be linked to his work on the "Quéjese" programme, broadcast Monday to Friday on Radio Super. He said the programme has reported on the activities of common criminals and gangs that operate in Popayán. These groups could presumably be behind the threat.

Colonel Marionel Flórez, Cauca's police commander, told FLIP that the journalist had not informed him about the threats. He assured FLIP that the police would take action as soon as Sierra informed them.

Sierra explained that he has thus far been unable to meet with Flórez.

FLIP condemns the threat against Sierra. The organisation urges the police to provide the journalist with protection and to give any information they obtain to the Public Prosecutor's Office so that an thorough investigation can be carried out and those behind the threats can be identified and punished.

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