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Journalist detained by police; another assaulted by mayor

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 7 March 2008, journalist Raúl Sánchez, of the "Perú 21" newspaper, was detained for half an hour by police lieutenant Manuel Ríos Alvarado. The incident occurred at the gates of the Diroes Military Base in Lima, where the trial of former president Alberto Fujimori is being held.

The journalist had just left the base and was using the camera on his mobile telephone to record an argument between the police officer and "La República" journalist César Romero. Romero was complaining because a group of Fujimori supporters were not required to line up to retrieve their identification papers.

When he noticed that Sánchez was recording the conversation, Ríos Alvarado rushed at the journalist and broke his mobile telephone. He then grabbed him and pushed him into a security booth by the Diroes entrance. He insulted the journalist and told him he was not free to leave.

Sánchez asked a group of lawyers for help in order to file a complaint for the illegal detention.

The journalist was finally released when Colonel Alfonso Chávarry Estrada arrived at the scene. The colonel took Sánchez to his office where he apologised and promised that his mobile phone would be replaced.

IPYS condemns Ríos Alvarado's actions and asks that he be punished for abusing his authority and mistreating the journalist.

In a separate case, on 5 March, Henry Bautista Alvarado, of the "Sin Pelos en la Lengua" radio programme broadcast on Las Vegas FM, was insulted and struck by Mayor Simón Balbuena Marroquín during an informal press conference. The event took place at the Arequipa airport, in southern Peru.

The journalist repeatedly questioned the mayor about a call for his resignation submitted by a group of citizens. The mayor lost his patience, grabbed the journalist by the shirt, took him to a secluded area and after insulting him, told him he would not give him a reply. He then slapped the journalist in the face.

The mayor later denied the entire incident even though several journalists witnessed what had taken place.

Bautista Alvarado filed a complaint with the airport police desk and is planning to ask for protection.

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