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Journalist receives another death threat, initiates lawsuit against president for endangering him

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 3 December 2007, journalist Gonzalo Guillén, a Colombian correspondent for the US-based newspaper "El Nuevo Herald", received a death threat by telephone. The message came from a cell phone.

The threat comes two months after President Álvaro Uribe publicly accused the journalist of having contributed to the writing of the book "Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar" by former media host Virginia Vallejo, which alleged Uribe had ties to the now defunct drug trafficker Pablo Escobar.

Guillén, who had left the country for security reasons, returned to Colombia during the third week of October and filed a lawsuit against President Uribe for slander and defamation with the Criminal Decision Bench of Bogotá's Superior Court (Sala de Decisión Penal del Tribunal Superior de Bogotá). He is representing himself in the lawsuit, due to the fact that, on 20 November, the person who was assisting him legally - and whose name is withheld to protect her - received a threat against her and her family on her answering machine.

After receiving the latest death threat, Guillén reported it to the Office of Prosecutor 246 of the Individual Liberty Unit in Bogotá (Fiscalía 246 Seccional Unidad de Libertad Individual de Bogotá).

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