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Journalist who had participated in protest receives death threats

(C-Libre/IFEX) - Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 9 January 2012 - Itsmania Pineda Plateros has been receiving threatening calls and messages on her mobile phone. The journalist had participated in a 13 December 2011 protest in front of the Presidential Palace that was suppressed by members of the presidential guard.

According to Pineda Plateros, on 6 January she received a call from a man who told her, "Bitch, we are going to kill you." Four hours later she received another call during which she heard men's voices and the sound of a gun being cocked. Subsequently, she received threatening text messages on 8 and 9 January, warning her that she would be "taken to the crematorium and live through a nightmare".

The human rights activist is part of the 15-member collective "Periodistas por la Vida y la Libertad de Expresión" ("Journalists for Life and Freedom of Expression"). On 21 December, the group filed a complaint with the Special Human Rights Prosecutor, the Honduras president, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and the head of the Presidential Guard, denouncing government officials and members of the military for abusing their authority and violating a number of rights upheld by the Constitution.

Journalist Sandra Maribel Sánchez, of the same collective, condemned the threats against her colleague, stating that in all likelihood they were linked to the group's complaints and ongoing actions at the national and international level, which have raised the ire of government officials.

Sánchez noted that on the day of the protest in front of the Presidential Palace, Pineda Plateros was one of the journalists who was carrying a coffin. The journalist's photograph appeared in a "Los Angeles Times" editorial calling on the government of Porfirio Lobo Sosa to address the human rights violations in the country.

In its 2010 report on free expression violations, C-Libre had reported that Pineda Plateros had received threats and been harassed while she was heading a humanitarian organisation in Honduras.


(Please note this is an abridged translation.)
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