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Journalist goes into hiding after being followed and suffering an attempted kidnapping for denouncing alleged corruption by authorities

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 28 April 2008, journalist Paul Garay, director of the weekly magazine "El Pueblo", told IPYS that he had been kept under surveillance during the entire month of April and had been the target of a kidnapping attempt. The journalist went into hiding for security reasons on 25 April. The events took place in Pucallpa, Coronel Portillo province, eastern Peru.

Garay said that the problems began on 1 April, when he accused the former regional president of Ucayali, Edwin Vásquez López, of illegally appropriating for himself some land while he was in office. That same day, as he was leaving radio station Stereo 92.2, two men attempted to drag him to a car in which sat, according to Garay, Vásquez López. The journalist managed to get away, reentered the radio station and left via the back door. Garay was able to identify one of the men: Willy Cueva Aspajo, security agent for the former regional president. After the incident his radio programme "Hora 12" was cancelled.

Since that day, unidentified men have been asking about him at his home, have followed him and have even attempted to enter his house. He has therefore gone into hiding.

Garay does not rule out that these incidents may also be linked to the province's mayor, Luis Valdez Villacorta, whom he accused of evading justice in the case of journalist Alberto Rivera murdered in 2004. The mayor was tried and acquitted for that crime; an appeal to the Supreme Court to overthrow his acquittal is in process. Garay also stated that he has criticized Valdez's administration for alleged corruption in the social programme "Vaso de Leche", through which children are provided with milk at school.

For more information on the Rivera case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/89360

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