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Honduran journalist linked to peasant group receives death threats

UPDATE: Freelancer needs protection, while new election cycle fuels concern (RSF, 7 November 2012)

(C-Libre/IFEX) – 28 September 2012 - The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (Comité de Familiares de Detenidos y Desaparecidos en Honduras, COFADEH) has publicised certain text messages containing death threats against journalist Karla Zelaya, linked to the Aguan Unified Peasants' Movement (Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguan, MUCA).

According to Zelaya, the latest threats began on 20 September, two days after the murder of lawyer Antonio Trejo and on the second day of a trial against Trejo and 25 peasants accused of illegal protests, damage to the Supreme Court and carrying illegal arms during a 21 August peaceful protest outside the court. The verdict for this case is expected on 5 October.

One of the texts said: “You bitch . . . you're going to die, you should be scared. You and your friends are going to die and we'll start with you.”

Another said, “This is how all those who are talking will end up . . . if this bitch keeps opening her mouth, watch your backs.” Each message was sent from a different cell phone number.

The following day, Zelaya received yet another message: “Good day, watch your backs . . . you're going to get a surprise you won't like.”

On 20 and 21 August, farmers from Bajo Aguán gathered in Tegucigalpa to tell the Supreme Court that a ruling returning their land to their cooperatives in Aguán had been illegally overturned following an intervention by landowners Miguel Facussé y René Morales.

It was under these circumstances that Trejo was arrested. Trejo had been acting as a legal representative for the cooperative movement (Movimiento Auténtico Reivindicador del Aguán, MARCA) before he was shot to death on 22 September.

Zelaya was also present in August during the gathering in Tegucigalpa. She was documenting the repression of the peasants' group and was beaten by police in a Belén police station.

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