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FOPEA concerned over serious police actions against photographer in Rosario

(FOPEA/IFEX) - FOPEA is concerned over the arbitrary detention of photographer Alejandro Guerrero in Rosario, in the province of Santa Fe. Guerrero is the head of the "El Ciudadano" daily newspaper's photography department, in addition to being a correspondent for several national media outlets and an employee of the Santa Fe Social Communications Subsecretariat.

The incident took place on the afternoon of 15 December 2010, when Guerrero witnessed the eviction of a group of youths from a public street where they were lying on mattresses. Police officers at the scene asked Guerrero to leave and when he refused to do so they detained him, taking him to the Rosario 3rd Division Police Station. Guerrero was detained for more than six hours, during which time he was repeatedly beaten and was not allowed to make any telephone calls. He was never told why he had been detained.

Originally, Guerrero did not say that he was a journalist. Finally, however, after one of the beatings he mentioned that he was a photojournalist and that he should call his newspaper to explain his absence. After revealing his profession, Guerrero was warned not to publicise what had happened to him and one of his aggressors threatened to kill him.

After being freed, Guerrero filed a complaint at the Rosario Tribunal and a medical examiner noted the injuries that he had sustained. As a result of the incident the entire upper management level of the Rosario police force has been replaced, as have two of the officers who were involved in the assaults on Guerrero. FOPEA acknowledges the rapid actions of the provincial police in stepping in to replace the officers in Rosario, but also calls for Guerrero to be provided with protection, taking into account the death threats he received telling him to refrain from going public with the story.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)

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