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Journalist assaulted by prison guards

(FLIP/IFEX) - Javier Acosta, a journalist for the newspaper "Q'hubo", was assaulted by guards at the National Penitentiary and Incarceration Institute (Instituto National Penitenciario y Carcelario, INPEC) while he was covering a hearing at the Paloquemao courthouse in Bogotá. In incident took place on 28 May 2010.

Acosta was taking pictures of the defendant when the defendant's guards leaped on him and tried to take away his camera. "I was attacked by Enrique González Castillo, who is the inspector for the Good Shepherd prison. He tried to take my camera away and pushed me to the floor, where he threatened me with his weapon so I would give up my camera. Also, another guard – I don't know who he was – also wanted to confiscate my camera and break it," said Acosta.

Acosta filed a report against González for abuse of authority and demanded that INPEC conduct an internal investigation.

FLIP spoke to Ana María Escobar Fernández, the head of public relations at INPEC, who denied the incident had taken place. She said that an internal investigation had already been opened and that according to the defendant, González had never assaulted Acosta. However, the investigation is still under way.

FLIP condemns the attack on a journalist by prison guards and demands that INPEC investigate the incident. FLIP also issues a reminder that journalists have the right to cover court hearings, including taking pictures of the accused.

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