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Politician in Honduras resorts to threats, bribes to force journalist into exile

(C-Libre/IFEX) - 10 August 2012 - Journalist Ariel D'Vicente has reported that he has filed a complaint with the Attorney General's office denouncing that a political candidate linked to the president of the National Congress, Juan Orlando Hernández, had delivered a message offering him money in exchange for leaving the country until Hernández's term in office ends in 2014.

D'Vicente noted in his complaint that the messenger had also said they were looking for ways to get CONATEL, the national telecommunications commission, to take his TV station, Canal 66 Maya TV, off the air.

"These new threats are a result of me doing my job as a journalist and having reported on TV that José Natividad Pereira Luna, a transportation businessman better known as 'Chepe Luna', has ties to police in the south," said D'Vicente.

He also said he was worried that if he does not leave the country within the alloted time frame he could be killed by a group of hired assassins headed by Chepe Luna, who was set free even though he is known to have ties to organised crime.

Chepe Luna was detained on 7 August 2012 by officers of the National Directorate of Criminal Investigation, who were carrying out a 4 August 1998 arrest warrant issued in Choluteca. He was handed over to the immigration authority, but set free 24 hours after his arrest due to a writ of habeas corpus presented by his lawyer, Marlon Duarte.

Chepe Luna was wanted in New York in 2004 in connection with illegal immigration, drugs and cocaine trafficking and according to "La Prensa Grafica", a newspaper in El Salvador, in 2009 internal national police documents linked Chepe Luna with former police officials.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)

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