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Police commander threatens magazine editor in Chiapas

(CEPET/IFEX) - Juan Aparicio Sebastián, editor of "El Observador" magazine in Tapachula, in the southeastern state of Chiapas, reported that he received a death threat on 21 January 2010 from police commander Pedro Léon Toro Peña, the deputy inspector of the state border patrol. The threat came after the magazine published various allegations that the police had engaged in extortion, theft and kidnapping.

According to Aparicio Sebastián's version of events, the incident took place in the Lomas del Tacaná neighbourhood, where the police were conducting a search. Toro Peña and several armed police in civilian clothing emerged from the building and saw Aparicio Sebastián.

"He approached me and said he was tired of me, and then he swore at me and said that if I committed a crime, I would end up in his hands . . ." said the journalist. "I'm afraid for my life and I'm worried about my family's safety. I think he could act on his threat."

Aparicio Sebastián reported the incident to the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Related to Public Servants (Fiscalía Especializada para la Atención de los Delitos Relacionados con Servidores Públicos), where he also filed a complaint against Toro Peña for threatening him and abusing his authority.

The journalist said that the Attorney General's Office in Tuxtla Gutiérrez has notified the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists of the incident. The Attorney General's Office has also asked the National Commission for Human Rights for help from the Programme for Offences against Journalists.

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