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Journalist in Putumayo receives death threats

(FLIP/IFEX) - Freddy Enrique Narváez, a "Noticias Uno" news programme correspondent in Mocoa, Putumayo department, reported that he has received multiple threats since 19 September 2010 . The journalist received the first threat minutes after the programme publicised a report revealing irregularities committed by the recently-dismissed governor of Putumayo.

Narváez told FLIP that he has received multiple threatening calls on his cell phone. In the first one, which he received on the night of 19 September, the caller said, "With today's story you signed your death warrant."

The story the caller referred to was broadcast the same day and reported that the former governor, Felipe Alonso Guzmán, had been communicating with the Putumayo department assembly about funds for the upcoming year. As well, it seemed he had tried to make two transfers to his personal accounts in the amount of 50 billion pesos (approx. US$27.7 million). Guzmán was dismissed by the National Attorney General's office on 3 September after being accused of corruption.

A Mocoa city councilor, Álvaro Hernán Gaviria, who reported the news about Guzmán's communication with the assembly, said he has also received death threats for his role in the exposé. Because of the "Noticias Uno" report, the justice and interior minister, Germán Vargas Lleras, issued an order freezing some of the Putumayo government's bank accounts.

The Putumayo police commander, Colonel Orlando de Jesús Polo Obispo, told FLIP that the local police have been in contact with the journalist since the death threats were reported and that he has been assigned police protection. He also said that he is working with the local Attorney General's Office in their investigation into the origin of the threats.

FLIP condemns the threats against Narváez and calls on the local authorities to provide him with protection and punish those responsible.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)

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