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Argentine journalist's car set on fire

FOPEA (Foro de Periodismo Argentino) condemns the fact that journalist Maximiliano Pascual's car was intentionally set on fire on the morning of 25 April 2013. Pascual is the co-owner and editor of the weekly La Posta Hoy in Arroyo Seco in Santa Fe province.

A molotov cocktail thrown at the car exploded, causing damage to the car which was parked in front of the journalist's home. The fire also destroyed Pascual's camera and a recorder inside the car, and damaged the air conditioning system, electrical equipment and part of the stonework on the house.

Neighbours said they heard people in the early morning running and screaming "Go, go", after which they heard the explosion. Pascual and his wife had to climb through a window to get out of the house and try to put out the fire. When firefighters arrived, the car had been destroyed. No one was injured.

Pascual told FOPEA that he did not think the attack was linked to any specific recent investigation done by La Posta Hoy, but he is convinced that it was related to his work in general because the paper does take a critical editorial line. The attack is also similar to one that took place in October 2011 against his colleague Emilse Cecchi.

Cecchi spoke with deputy provincial security secretary, Mariano Cuvertino, who promised to set up a special commission to investigate the attack. The journalist told FOPEA that she reminded Cuvertino of the attack she suffered a year and a half ago, which has yet to be solved. "The characteristics [of the attack] are the same. Same time, same methodology, and apparently, the same people are responsible," said Cecchi.

The mayor of Arroyo Seco, Darío Gras, expressed his support for Pascual, as did other councillors and local journalists.

Pascual reported the incident to the Arroyo Seco police, provincial police and was preparing to make a formal report to the local prosecutor's office.

FOPEA stands with Pascual and hopes that those responsible for the fire will be identified and punished. At the same time, FOPEA calls for progress in the investigation of the similar 2011 attack. Impunity in this type of attack only leads to more of the same attacks.

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