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Magistrate throws journalist out of his office, accuses radio station of "harassing" him

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 4 December 2008, Wilbert Mercado Arbieto, head of the District Magistracy Office (Oficina Distrital de la Magistratura, ODICMA) of the Superior Court of Justice, threw journalist Genaro Alvarado Tuesta, of the La Voz de la Selva radio station, out of his office. The judge refused to provide an interview to the station, accusing it of "harassing" his administration. The incident took place in Iquitos, Loreto region, northeastern Peru.

The journalist had asked for an interview with Mercado Arbieto so that he could question him about the election of the next chair of Loreto's Superior Court scheduled to take place that day. When the journalist went to the ODICMA offices, the ODICMA secretary confirmed that the interview had been set up and asked the journalist to wait for a few minutes. Mercado Arbieto came out of his office and demanded that the journalist leave. When Alvarado Tuesta refused, the official pushed him out.

During the struggle, Mercado Arbieto accused La Voz de la Selva of harassing and mistreating him, and said that he would not provide any comments to the station.

According to Jhon Vargas, producer of the "LVS Noticias" news programme, the radio station has criticised the ODICMA's slowness and inefficiency in some judiciary cases. On the day of the incident, the station recalled that in 2002 the magistrate had been suspended for a year for using the judiciary's car for personal reasons and for drinking alcohol with minors.

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