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Journalist receives death threat

(C-Libre/IFEX) - Gerardo Chévez, a journalist for Radio Progreso, has received death threats, according to the Compañía de Jesús organisation in Honduras. The station's director, Father Ismael Moreno, is also being threatened.

In a press release, the religious group superiors said that Chévez has received threatening messages on his mobile telephone, directed at "journalists like him who talk shit." "We are eliminating journalists like Chévez, and then we'll go after the priests," one of the messages said.

According to the Jesuit group, the death threats against Father Moreno are likely linked to his attempts to protect a young woman, Irma Melissa Villanueva, who said she was assaulted by four police officers on 14 August 2009 in Choloma, Cortés.

Formal complaints have been filed with the Office of the Special Human Rights Prosecutor in San Pedro Sula. The head of the Jesuits in El Progreso, Yoro, Father Valentín Menéndez, submitted the complaint on the Moreno case on 16 April and subsequently, on 20 April, he submitted a complaint on the Chévez case. According to Radio Progreso staff, precautionary measures have been requested in both cases.

The situation for media personnel in the country has been dire so far in 2010, with seven assassinations in less than 2 months. The murdered newsmen were Jorge Alberto Orellana (20 April), Luis Chévez Hernández (11 April), José Bayardo Mairena Ramírez and Manuel Juarez (26 March), Nahún Palacios Arteaga (14 March), David Meza Montecinos (11 March), and Joseph Hernández Ochoa (1 March).

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