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Journalist Julio César Vásquez Calle receives death threat after reporting on his detention and torture during peaceful march in 2005

(AMARC/IFEX) - AMARC expresses its concern over reports of torture made by journalist Julio César Vásquez Calle, of Radio Cutivalú in Peru, and 28 members of indigenous communities, stating that they were tortured in August 2005 by police officers and security guards from the mining company Majaz.

The report was formally made to the Piura region district attorney's office and the case was presented publically in a conference on 6 January 2009. Vásquez was working as a journalist covering a peaceful march to the Majaz mining camp organized by farmers in Río Blanco, in northern Piura, close to the Ecuadorian border.

This information was received by AMARC through a press release by the Red Regional Agua, Democracia y Desarrollo and confirmed by AMARC's representative in Peru. Radio Cutivalú is a station associated with AMARC that, for years, has done important work in the region.

According to the release, during the protest against the mining camp, Vásquez and 28 others "were intercepted by police and led into the camp, where, it seems, the police and security guards working for the mining company detained them for three days and tortured them. They were blindfolded and had their heads covered with sacs that contained a dust that made them vomit and made it hard for them to breath. They were also beaten. The two women in the group reported that they were sexually assaulted."

After the report was made, on 5 February Vásquez received a phone call from a man who said that if he did not retract his statement, he would be killed. The caller said: "Since when has your job been to help terrorists? We are going to see to it that you rot in jail if you don't retract your statement. If you don't withdraw it, you will arrive at the jail in pieces." Vásquez reported that he has received various other phone calls recently, but when he answers them, there is no one on the line.

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