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Journalist and human rights defender threatened with sexual violence

(C-Libre/IFEX) - 23 April 2012, Tegucigalpa - On 18 April 2012, Amnesty International sent out an urgent action expressing concern for the safety of journalist and human rights defender Dina Meza Elvir, who recently reported that she had received threats of sexual violence.

The Amnesty International appeal emphasizes the current danger that Meza faces, even though she was granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 2006 and 2009 to safeguard her security.

Meza works in communications for the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (Comité de Familiares de Detenidos y Desaparecidos en Honduras, COFADEH) and in March was one of the speakers at an event on fundamental freedoms and the protection of human rights in Honduras at an IACHR event in Washington, DC.

According to the Amnesty International release, "On 14 April, Dina Meza received three calls to her mobile phone in the morning and afternoon from the same number, during which the caller remained silent. As she answered a fourth call, a male caller asked her 'What's new?' ('¿Qué hay de nuevo?') and hung up. Dina Meza called the number, asked the man who he was and what he wanted. The caller said his name was Miguel and claimed that he had dialed the wrong number, but ended the call by telling Dina 'Look after your pussy' ('Cuidese la pipa').

"A week earlier, on 6 April, Dina Meza was walking in her neighbourhood with her children when she noticed two men taking photos of them. Previously, on 22 February, Dina Meza received two threats by text message with reference to sexual violence.

"The first text message said 'We'll burn your pussy with lime until you scream and the whole squad will enjoy it. CAM'. ('Les vamos a quemar con cal la pipa hasta q griten y luego toda la quadrilla va gozar. CAM'). The second text message said '[ . . . ]You'll end up dead like people in the Aguán there's nothing better than fucking some bitches' (van a terminar como los del aguan muertos no hay nada mas rico q cojer a unas zorras). CAM is an acronym for Comando Álvarez Martinez, a pseudonmym which has been used in threats to human rights activists and journalists in the aftermath of the 2009 coup d'etat."

So far in 2012 C-Libre has recorded 38 free expression violations, the most serious of which have been the deaths of three media workers and death threats against 13 journalists.

This disturbing wave of violence against journalism in the country is rooted in the high rate of impunity that has paralysed investigative and judicial authorities, impeding progress in investigations and the subsequent punishment of criminals. Journalists are carrying out their duties under threat and without any protection from the state.
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