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Correspondent Aldo Lezcano assaulted, receives death threat; journalist Richard Villasboa and camera operator Blas Salcedo assaulted, expelled from penitentiary

(SPP/IFEX) - The SPP condemns the death threat and assault against Aldo Lezcano, a correspondent for the daily "ABC Color" in Ybycuí, as well as the assault suffered earlier by Richard Villasboa and Blas Salcedo, of the Canal 13 television station.

The SPP calls on the authorities to investigate these incidents and punish those found to be responsible.

Lezcano was assaulted on 8 February 2009 by Hugo Montiel, who had been mentioned in an article on alleged irregularities involving the Acahay branch of the Paraguayan Chaco War Veteran's Union (Unión Paraguaya de Veteranos de la Guerra del Chaco). Montiel punched the journalist in the back and, afterwards, when Lezcano went to report the assault at the local police station, Montiel followed him and attempted to assault him again, this time with a rock.

Lezcano later received a message on his cell phone, saying, "You were born in Acahay, and soon you will die in Acahay". SPP urges the regional authorities to punish the person responsible for both the assault and death threat suffered by Lezcano.

The SPP also condemns the 5 February assault on Villasboa and Salcedo, a journalist and camera operator respectively for Canal 13, who were mistreated at the La Esperanza penitentiary after they attempted to report on the institution, having received prior authorisation from the penitentiary's director.

Villasboa and Salcedo were assaulted, had firearms aimed at them and were thrown out of the penitentiary by two security guards. SPP demands that the justice ministry punish those responsible for the actions against Villasboa and Salcedo.

The SPP expresses its solidarity with the journalists who were the victims of these acts of aggression and will urge the appropriate authorities to bring an end to attacks on journalists who are carrying out their professional duties.

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