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Bolivian editor, free expression activist brutally beaten

(ANP/IFEX) - 6 November 2012 - The editor of El Diario newspaper, Ghilka Sanabria, was beaten on the night of 5 November 2012. According to a doctor, she suffered a serious haemorrhage to the front of her head and bruises to her body.

The journalist, who also works in the free expression monitoring unit of ANP (Asociación Nacional de la Prensa), ruled out the possibility of the attack being an attempted robbery and said the assailant had intended to cause her serious injuries and frighten her. At 10:15 p.m., as she was returning home, a man who was about 20 years old and whose face was hidden as he was wearing a hooded top, attacked Sanabria, knocked her down, and smashed her head into a wall, apparently trying to make her lose consciousness.

The journalist reported this to the La Paz crime fighting force. The La Paz Press Association (Asociación de Periodistas de La Paz, APLP) has lodged a complaint about the incident. The ANP vehemently condemned the attack and regrets the passivity of the government institutions responsible for investigating, identifying responsible parties, and punishing them for violent actions against journalists and media outlets. A week ago in the city of Yacuiba, journalist Fernando Vidal and another journalist at a radio station were injured in a fire bomb attack on their outlet. Even though some suspects have been detained in connection with that incident, the authorities' investigations have not shed any further light on what happened.

On 17 October journalist Humberto Vacaflor reported that his home in Tarija was the target of a shooting and said there was little interest on the part of the police to investigate the case. In 2011, the ANP reported that a total of 46 physical and verbal attacks were left unsolved because of lack of willingness on the part of the authorities who are responsible for security and justice in Bolivia.

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