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Four Ecuadorian reporters detained, expelled by military, their footage destroyed

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 26 June 2007, four Ecuadorian reporters were detained and expelled from Colombia, charged with entering the country illegally and videotaping in forbidden areas. The journalists, of ECUAVISA TV station, were arrested by Colombian military personnel near a bridge that runs over the San Miguel river, which marks the border between the two countries. The journalists had gone there to investigate the murder of an Ecuadorian farmer whose family accuses Colombian soldiers of the killing.

The reporters are Freddy Barros and Marcelo Orellana, assistant Germán Picho and camera operator Sergio Quiñaluisa. The soldiers took them to the Administrative Department for Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, DAS) - one of Colombia's intelligence public safety agencies - where the videos they had taped were destroyed. They then deported them to Ecuador.

There have been several murders of Ecuadorian civilians in the San Miguel river region, where guerrillas and drug traffickers operate.

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