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President of Alta Verapaz journalists' association targeted in bomb attack

(CERIGUA/IFEX) - The president of the Alta Verapaz Association of Journalists and Social Commentators (Asociación de Periodistas y Comunicadores Sociales de Alta Verapaz, APC-AV), Félix Waldemar Maaz Bol, was the victim of an attack on his home, where unidentified individuals left a can of gasoline and detonated homemade bombs. The incident took place in the city of Cobán, in the department of Alta Verapaz.

Maaz Bol told CERIGUA that, at 11:00 p.m. (local time) on 18 August 2009, he received a call on his mobile phone from an unfamiliar number. Nobody responded when he answered the call. At about 1:00 a.m. a bomb was detonated near a five gallon can of gasoline that had been left at the entrance to his house. The can of gasoline did not ignite.

Maaz Bol said that he had not received any death threats prior to the attack and that he believes the actions against him are related to an item featured on the "Video Prensa" news programme he works for, which is broadcast by the local Canal 17 cable television station. He said that one of the more contentious news items he publicised recently was about members of the police's Criminal Special Investigations Unit (División Especializada de Investigación Criminal, DEIC) and their alleged involvement in extortion activities.

A complaint regarding the attack on Maaz Bol's home was filed with the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público) but, since his house did not sustain significant damage, the case was rejected.

Maaz Bol's brothers, also journalists, have been the victims of attacks as well. In 2006, Eduardo Heriberto Maaz Bol, a Radio Punto station correspondent, was killed by unidentified individuals at the entrance to Cobán. In July 2008, the home of Edin Rodelmiro Maaz Bol, who is also a correspondent for Radio Punto, was shot at by unidentified individuals.

CERIGUA's Journalists' Observatory condemns the actions against Félix Waldemar Maaz Bol as an attack on freedom of expression and calls on the authorities to immediately initiate an investigation in the case.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities:
- calling for a thorough investigation into the attacks on the Maaz Bol brothers, particularly the recent attack on Félix Waldemaar Maaz Bol
- demanding protection and respect for freedom of expression rights


APPEALS TO:

Ruth del Valle
Comisionada Presidencial de los Derechos Humanos
(Presidential High Commissioner for Human Rights)
2a. Avenida 10-50, zona 9
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2334 0119

Sergio Morales Alvarado
Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
(Human Rights Ombudsman)
12 Avenida 12-72, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2424 1717
Correo electrónico: [email protected]

Fiscalía Especial de Delitos contra Periodistas y Sindicalistas
(Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Trade Unionists)
Ministerio Público
7a. Avenida 11-20, zona 1, segundo nivel
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2220 6873

Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas Sobre Derechos Humanos para Guatemala
(Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala)
13 calle 3-40, zona 10, Edifico Atlantils, oficina 803
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2382 3410
Correo electrónico: [email protected]

Raúl Velásquez
Ministro de Gobernación
(Interior Minister)
6a. Avenida 4-64, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2362 0237 / 2339 4474
Correo electrónico: [email protected]

Baltazar Gómez Barrios
Director de la Policía Nacional Civil
(Director, National Police)
Dirección General de la Policía Nacional Civil
6a. Avenida 13-71, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2238 1474

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.
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