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Tribunal orders high level officials to fulfill stipulations of ruling regarding protective measures for journalist

(FLIP/IFEX) - A tribunal in Cundimarca has initiated a contempt of court action against several high level officials after it came to the conclusion that they have failed to carry out a Constitutional Court ruling ordering the government to implement appropriate security measures for a journalist at risk and to hand over information about her contained in intelligence files. The Constitutional Court ruling was issued almost nine months ago. In addition, the tribunal has given the president of the republic, the interior vice-minister and the National Police director 48 hours to implement the measures called for in the Constitutional Court ruling.

In October 2007, journalist Claudia Julieta Duque presented a writ of action against the Ministry of the Interior, which oversees the Journalists' Protection Programme. Based on Department for Administrative Security (DAS) reports, the programme suspended the protective measures that had previously been granted to Duque, alleging that she was misusing them. At that time, a risk analysis conducted by the police indicated that the journalist faced an extraordinarily high level of risk.

In October 2008, the Constitutional Court ruled that the government cannot take measures to restrict a journalist's freedom of expression or right to information as a result of its obligation to provide the journalist with protection. The Constitutional Court then ordered the government to, among other actions, assign a trustworthy driver to the journalist and give her access to information about her contained in DAS files.

As a result of the failure to carry out the Constitutional Court ruling, the tribunal in Cundinamarca initiated a contempt of court action against the Ministry of the Interior's human rights director, Rafael Bustamante, DAS director Felipe Muñoz and the director of the National Police, General Óscar Naranjo.

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