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FLIP condemns attack against journalist and former minister Fernando Londoño

(FLIP/IFEX) - 15 May 2012 - The Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) condemns the attack against Fernando Londoño, director of the radio programme La Hora de la Verdad (Time for the Truth) and a columnist for La Patria newspaper and other media. The bomb attack, which resulted in the death of two of Londoño's bodyguards, occurred today at 11:00 a.m. in northern Bogota.

Two of Londoño's bodyguards were killed and many other people were injured in the explosion. Among them was Londoño, former Interior and Justice Minister under Uribe's government and a harsh critic of the Juan Manuel Santos administration and the FARC guerilla group. These criticisms were voiced on his La Hora de la Verdad programme, which he has directed for the last 8 years for the Radio Súper network. Londoño sustained chest injuries and a concussion.

Journalist Sandra Beltrán, of Radio Súper, told FLIP Londoño's colleagues at Radio Súper were very concerned for his wellbeing. The station's president, Juan Carlos Pava, said that Londoño is always under some threat, but that no new security risks had been identified in recent days. Pava stressed that the Radio Súper network would not be silenced by such attacks on freedom of expression.

In a 15 May editorial comment, Londoño had voiced a strong critique of a constituinal amendment known as "The Legal Framework for Peace", which was to be brought forward for debate before the House of Representatives on that day. "Fernando has always condemned the FARC for their violent tactics," said Pava. "This morning he interviewed the Attorney General and asked him why it is that human rights violators will not be punished if the constitutional amendment currently being debated is passed."

Andrés Villamizar, director of the National Unit for the Protection of Journalists, said that those responsible for the attack have not been identified but the former minister had received threats from the FARC.

FLIP urges government officials to implement measures aimed at guaranteeing the rights to life, and freedom of expression.

(Please note this is an abridged translation).

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