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Photographer Ángelo Chamba threatened by prosecutor, assaulted by policeman

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 11 February 2009, "Diario Hoy" photojournalist Ángelo Chamba was threatened by prosecutor Luis Ramiro Sánchez and assaulted by a policeman while he was covering the arrest of journalist Lourdes Garzón and her brother. Garzón had been accused of preventing the arrest of her brother. The incident took place in Quito, Ecuador's capital city.

Chamba was taking pictures of the inside of Garzón's house, broken into by the police after they were informed that the serial numbers on vehicle engines and chassis were being altered there, when Sánchez covered his camera lens and threatened to have him arrested.

The prosecutor threatened Chamba again while the two siblings were being arrested.

Following that, two policemen pushed the photographer into a vehicle in order to take his camera from him. When he resisted, one of the officials grabbed the journalist by the throat until he was able to take his camera, radio and cell phone. Chamba remained inside the vehicle for nearly half an hour. He was then released and his belongings were returned to him.

On 12 February, Chamba attended the public hearing where the Garzón siblings would testify. Moments before the hearing ended, prosecutor Sánchez ordered, without any justification, the seizure of the reporter's camera in order to check its memory card.

IPYS and FUNDAMEDIOS condemn Chamba's treatment.

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