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Journalist shot and killed in Montería, Colombia

(FLIP/IFEX) - Clodomiro Castilla Ospino, editor and owner of the magazine "El Pulso del Tiempo" and journalist on the program La Voz de Montería, was shot and killed on 19 March 2010 in the town of Montería, Córdoba, in northern Colombia. Castilla frequently reported on corruption and paramilitary activity in the region. Authorities are investigating his murder.

The murder took place at night. According to witnesses, one of two men approached Castilla, who was reading on the terrace at his house, and shot him eight times. The hitman and his accomplice escaped by motorcycle.

The Córdoba police commander, Col. Pedro Ángelo Franco, said that two suspects were detained that same night but they were let go because there was not enough evidence. He said he did not know why the journalist was killed.

Castilla was known for his reporting on corruption and his reports of local politicians with links to paramilitary groups. He had recently been a witness at a Supreme Court investigation on the issue. He was a controversial journalist known for his constant denunciations of corruption issues in the region.

Since August 2006, Castilla participated in the journalist protection program, sponsored by the Interior and Justice Ministries, and had been assigned a number of security measures, including a bodyguard and financial support so he could use a car for protection. However, on various occasions, he had not claimed the financial assistance to use the car, and in February 2009 he requested that the bodyguard be withdrawn.

In November 2009, the journalist requested that the security measures be reinstated, but the protection program refused, citing a recent risk analysis report that specified that he was not in danger. That same month, the Interior Ministry ordered the national police to carry out a new risk analysis, but four months later, it has still not been submitted.

FLIP rejects the assassination of the journalist as the most serious attack on freedom of the press and demands that the Attorney General open an investigation into the crime and punish the people responsible for Castilla's death. FLIP will meanwhile continue following this case and try to establish if there is a connection between the crime and the journalist's work.
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