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Community radio organizer, previously smeared by army, receives new paramilitary death threat

(AMARC/IFEX) - New death threats against social media communicators, religious leaders and members of social organisations in the Middle Magdalena (Magdalena Medio) region in the southern area of Bolívar department, have been denounced in a 21 April 2008 joint press release by several social, religious and human rights organisations.

The new threat, received by e-mail on19 April, was signed by the "Aguilas Negras" (Black Eagles), a wing of the northern block of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia paramilitary group. The threat said, "from today forward, consider yourselves dead guerrillas, you sons of bitches; ask the media to save you, you sons of bitches of anarchists, you bunch of bandits of the FARC and the ELN." (Ed.note: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejercito de Liberación Nacional, ELN) are Colombia's two largest guerrilla groups.)

The social and religious organisations' press release noted that one of those mentioned in the new paramilitary threat, Fr. Rafael Gallego, who is in charge of Eco de Tiquisio community radio station, "has been the target of persistent smears and persecution by members of the Nariño battalion of the National Army (Batallón Nariño del Ejército Nacional), about which the Office of the Prosecutor General (Fiscalía General de la Nación), Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de la Nación) and the national government have all been informed."

The cosignatories to the joint press release asked the Colombian authorities to investigate the threats and punish those responsible, "given the gravity and persistence of these threats, in which people that will be the target of attacks are individually identified," and to "adopt prompt, serious and effective measures, to be agreed upon with those in danger, in order to protect the lives, physical safety and freedom of the people and organisations affected by these threats."

Updates the Gallego case:

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