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Unknown individuals try to break into journalist's home days before she is due to testify against DAS

(FLIP/IFEX) - On 16 October 2009, a group of unknown individuals tried to break into the home of Claudia Julieta Duque, a correspondent for the online radio station Radio Nizkor. Over the past few years, the journalist has been threatened, followed and subjected to illegal surveillance.

Duque told FLIP that at 12:30 p.m. a group of 6 people, men and women, entered her apartment building and asked for her by name. They went to the journalist's apartment and apparently tried to force the door open. The intruders fled after Duque's brother came out of the apartment at that moment. According to Duque, the security camera in front of her apartment was damaged the day before the incident.

The building security cameras showed that the assailants arrived in four vehicles, and that a number of individuals were waiting while the intruders were inside the building. The journalist's lawyer, Reinaldo Villalba, said that it was clear that this was a coordinated and planned event, which suggests that the motive was not robbery.

Duque reported the incident to the Interior Ministry, which promised to strengthen the protective measures that had previously been granted to the journalist under the Protection of Journalists Programme.

Luz Marta Nariño, of the National Police, told FLIP the department is investigating the incident and any possible motives.

Duque expressed concern over the timing of the incident, as she is preparing to appear before the Attorney General's Office to testify that the Department of Administrative Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, DAS) was behind the intimidation and surveillance she was subjected to.

FLIP urged the Prosecutor's Office and the Judicial Police to promptly launch an investigation, and identify those responsible. It also urged the government to ensure that Duque receives adequate protection.

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