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President rebukes two journalists who questioned him about a terrorism case

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 31 October 2009, during a press conference, President Evo Morales rebuked two journalists who asked about an alleged terrorism attack that took place in Santa Cruz. The incident was reported in several national media.

Journalist Judith Prada, of TV network Gigavisión, asked Morales why the executive had ordered an armed operation - during which the leader of the alleged terrorist group, Eduardo Rozsa, was killed - if the government claimed to have the group under control.

Morales replied that if the journalist did not believe him, she should "turn to the district attorney or a judge in order to investigate." He then accused her of attempting to defend terrorism and secessionism with her questions.

When María José Mollinedo, a reporter for TV network Uno, asked him if the government knew about alleged infiltrators in the terrorist group, the president answered that her questions were suspicious, had the intention of magnifying the issue, and that he rejected the questions of women journalists who should be "defending life, the homeland and condemning those terrorists".

On 16 April, elite members of the Tactical Unit for Crisis Resolution (UTARC) attacked the alleged terrorist group at Santa Cruz's hotel Las Américas.

According to the official version, the group was planning an attempt against Morales and wanted to bring about the separation of the department of Santa Cruz. Rozsa (Hungarian, Croatian and Bolivian), another Hungarian citizen and an Irish citizen died in the attack. The case is being investigated. A photograph was published in October that showed the head of the UTARC next to Rozsa before the police operation.

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