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Journalist and writer Griselda Gómez receives threats in Córdoba; journalist Gustavo Heredia threatened while covering trial in San Luis

(FOPEA /IFEX) - On 15 January 2009, Griselda Gómez, a writer and journalist for "La Mañana" newspaper, based in the city of Córdoba, capital of Córdoba province in central Argentina, received two threatening phone calls. The paper's security personnel answered the calls made by an individual who identified himself as "Colonel Jiménez" and "Captain Gigena".

The caller shouted and insulted Gómez during the call, saying things like, "She is a son of a bitch. She knows what will happen (to her) because of what she has published." The journalist told FOPEA that she does not believe the threats are linked to her work on the paper's "Entertainment" section, but rather to her long standing work on human rights and a book of poems she published in 2008 titled "Flores del Bien", in honour of the grandmothers and mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (an association of women whose family members "disappeared" during the military dictatorship).

"The calls were made seven minutes before I arrived at the office. I attribute them to elements representing the worst of what we have experienced in Córdoba," Gómez told FOPEA, adding that she was not afraid at all. The journalist has filed a complaint with the Third Court of the City of Córdoba Tribunal, presided by Judge Raúl Ignacio Garzón.

FOPEA is concerned that Gómez's freedom to practice her profession unhindered has been compromised by these threats and urges the authorities to investigate the journalist's complaint.

In a separate development, FOPEA expressed concern over a threat received by journalist Gustavo Heredia, of the Radio Universidad station in San Luis, San Luis province, in central Argentina. Heredia has been covering a trial of military and police officers who are accused of committing crimes. Heredia has been reporting on the matter for the radio station from the beginning and the trial is due to conclude in another week.

On the morning of 22 January, Heredia and lawyer Enrique Ponce received a threatening phone call at the journalist's house. The anonymous caller told Heredia's wife, "Your house is going to be targeted in an apparent robbery and some of the important documents you have will go missing." Ponce was informed of the call, which was received on the morning of the last week of testimonies at the trial.

Members of the Federal Oral Tribunal (Tribunal Oral Federal) where the trial is being held were informed of the threat and the matter will be referred to during the trial proceedings. A complaint has also been filed with the Federal Prosecutor's Office (Fiscalía Federal), led by Mónica Spagnuolo, who ordered that certain security measures be put into place at Heredia's and Ponce's homes.

FOPEA urges the authorities to provide Heredia and Ponce with the necessary security measures and ensure that the threat is promptly investigated and those responsible are identified.

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