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Journalist gets death threats from Armed Forces lieutenant colonel

(C-Libre/IFEX) - Esdras Amado López, the editor of the Canal 36 news programme "Así se informa", reported that a member of the Honduran Armed Forces threatened to kill him on 5 January 2011, near the Honduran Institute for Social Security (Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social), just south of the capital Tegucigalpa.

In a phone interview with Radio Globo, López said that after seeing the press badge that he was wearing, Lieutenant Colonel Méndez went behind his car and took photos of the journalist, while a bodyguard filmed him using a cell phone. López said he was on his way from the airport accompanied by a second vehicle containing his professional equipment. He said he was just ahead of a green "Force" vehicle, the type of vehicle that fired teargas bombs during the June 2009 coup d'état.

When he realised he was being photographed, López parked his car and questioned Méndez as to why he was taking the photos. The lieutenant colonel then got out of his car with a gun in his hand and start insulting López.

The journalist said he called the station so that they could air exactly what the lieutenant colonel was saying to him. Méndez asked López why he was being offensive and then told him he was part of the Resistencia (Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular) and would pin López between his car and the one carrying his equipment.

López described Méndez as a man with little hair but a big moustache and that he was a member of the joint heads of the armed forces (Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas). He said the lieutenant colonel told him that he was going to continue taking pictures and that he was not afraid of anything López or Canal 36 might do.

López told Radio Globo that, while holding a gun in his hand, Méndez threatened to kill him. He said he did not want to be the 11th Honduran journalist killed in less than a year.

When C-Libre contacted the public relations office of the joint heads of the Armed Forces, the organisation was told that Lieutenant Colonel Rodolfo Méndez was in a meeting and that he would contact C-Libre later to share his version of the events.

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