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Journalist denounces harassment by police after live broadcast of interview with Shining Path leader

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 18 September 2008, journalist Cirilo Vásquez, host of the "Luz a la Noticia" programme broadcast by La Luz radio station, told IPYS that the police and the intelligence services are pressuring him by way of telephone calls, summoning him after he broadcast a live interview with a man known as "Artemio", the leader of the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) terrorist group in Alto Huallaga. He said he is also being followed. The incidents have taken place in Aucayacu, in the Huánuco region of central Peru.

The journalist told IPYS that on the evening of 17 September he received a telephone call while he was conducting a live broadcast of his programme. The caller said he was "Artemio" and requested an opportunity to speak in order to refute claims that recent captures of alleged Shining Path members in the region represented a police victory. On the contrary, he said that the individuals detained recently by the police do not belong to the Shining Path and he accused the intelligence services of abusing residents in the area by falsely accusing them of belonging to the terrorist group.

Vásquez noted that the police are also harassing him because of a 15 September broadacast in which a group of Aucayacu residents said that police officers carried out an operation in which they murdered one of the community's inhabitants after confusing him with a terrorist. Although the police denied the allegations and blamed the Shining Path for the man's death, the residents have said via Vásquez's programme that the police are lying.

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