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Journalist flees country for fear of life following threats, president's statements

(FLIP/IFEX) - FLIP is concerned about the recent statements by President Álvaro Uribe about journalist Gonzalo Guillén, who has now left the country for fear of his life.

On 2 October 2007, in a radio interview the president asserted that Guillén "had dedicated himself to a journalistic career of lies and slander." The president also suggested that Guillén had played a role in the writing of various books by foreign journalists about the links between paramilitarism and drug-trafficking in Colombia.

Guillén received death threats in May, as the result of which he has been under official state protection.

Nonetheless, on 4 October various media reported that the reporter had left the country, fearing for his life due to threats previously received.

FLIP condemns the president's strident and accusatory remarks against Guillén, and finds it paradoxical to say the least that the government, which is supposed to be protecting this journalist and defending his Constitutional rights, is instead issuing statements that only further threaten his safety.

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