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Journalist assaulted, receives death threat; two other journalists expelled from state property

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 25 November 2008, journalist Jorge Moncada, of the newspaper "El Ciclón", said that he was hit and threatened inside the paper's headquarters by two members of the Police's Criminal Investigation Division (II-DIRTEPOL), so that he would reveal the source of the information he published about the murder of a well-known lawyer from Chiclayo, in the Lambayeque region, northwestern Peru. María Altamirano Guzmán, a key witness in the murder, also participated in the assault.

Moncada published details of Altamirano Guzmán's statement to the police in her capacity as witness to the 27 October murder of Fernando Arbulú Roca, lawyer and former manager of the sugar producing company Pucará. A number of media outlets reported that, according to the police's investigations, several important local businessmen are behind the crime and that the witness had dealings with the hired killers.

Moncada told IPYS that Altamirano Guzmán arrived at the newspaper flanked by the police agents. A non-commissioned officer called Villegas held him while Altamirano Guzmán hit him and threatened him with death. The other policeman, called Márquez, pressured him to reveal the identity of his source.

Moncada told IPYS that he is scared for his life as Altamirano Guzmán seems to know hired killers. He also reported that the police are following him.

In a separate incident, on 17 November, journalist Galia Ojanama and camera operator Roy Romayna, who work for Amazónica de Televisión Canal 2's "El Loretano" news programme, said that they were expelled without justification from the facilities of Peru's National Meteorology and Hydrology Service (SENAMHI) by members of the Air Force.

The event took place in Iquitos, Loreto region, in northeastern Peru, while the journalists were in the facilities of Air Group No. 42, where SENAMHI is also based, to collect the weather report that their programme broadcasts twice a week. They had entered the premises after identifying themselves and handing over their journalists' credentials. However, while they were inside the building they were stopped by two members of the Air Force who forcibly pushed them out. The officers continued with their aggressive stance despite the journalists' attempts to explain that they had left their identification at the door.

The television station's press chief, Edgar Jhonston, said that the case has been presented before Lidia Reyes, head of the Ombudsman's Office in the region.

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