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New death threats against "El Nuevo Herald" correspondent following articles implicating president in drug-trafficking

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 17 December 2007, journalist Gonzalo Guillén, the correspondent in Colombia of the Miami-based newspaper "El Nuevo Herald", received a new death threat, the most recent one in a spate of such threats that began on 14 December; the latest was sent to his cell phone. The callers made reference to two articles published by him on 13 and 15 December, in which he reported on the resignation of the anti-corruption czar, Rodrigo Lara Restrepo, son of former Minister for Justice, Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, murdered by the mafia in 1984.

According to the article, Lara Restrepo resigned because the government had concealed information from him about a file related to his father's death. The file is regarding the alleged infiltration of politics by drug-traffickers, involving the current president, Álvaro Uribe, and his father, Alberto Uribe, who is alleged to have been implicated by the discovery of a helicopter belonging to him in "Tranquilandia", the largest cocaine manufacturing laboratory, which was dismantled by police.

Guillén filed a complaint about the threats before the Individual Liberty Unit of the Office of Prosecutor 246 (Unidad de Libertad Individual de la Fiscalía 246) in Bogotá.

These threats come in the wake of the one he received by telephone on 3 December and take place two months after President Álvaro Uribe Vélez publicly accused Guillén of having contributed to the writing of the book "Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar" by former media host Virginia Vallejo, in which an alleged relationship between Uribe and the former drug trafficker Pablo Escobar is described.

The journalist, who had left the country for safety's sake after receiving similar threats, returned to Colombia during the third week of October.

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