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Former mayor issues death threat against journalist; judge threatens photojournalist

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 6 February 2010, journalist Amancio Del Águila, a correspondent for the TV station Panamericana Televisión and host of the 90.1 FM radio programme "Voz y Ritmo en la Noticia", received a death threat from José Quiroz Alva, the former mayor of the district of Padre Felipe Luyando - Naranjillo. The incident took place in the city of Tingo Maria, in the Huánuco region of southeastern Peru.

The journalist told IPYS that he was riding his motorcycle along with his two young daughters when he was intercepted in an aggressive manner by the former public official, who insulted and issued a death threat against him and his daughters, blaming Del Águila for the loss of his position. The timely intervention of a police officer prevented the journalist from being assaulted by Quiroz Alva.

According to Del Águila, he began receiving threats in June 2009 in retaliation for his coverage of the process by which the mayor was removed from his post.

Residents of the district of Padre Felipe Luyando - Naranjillo told IPYS that the former mayor is violent and has threatened several people, including other journalists and ordinary citizens whom he does not like, but the complaints filed against him with the police and the governor's office have never been addressed.

On 8 February, Del Águila presented a request to the governor's office in Tingo María, asking for protection for himself and his family. He has not yet received a response to his request.

IPYS calls on the Ministry of the Interior to act quickly in this case and urges the governor of Tingo María to ensure the journalist's safety.

In a separate incident, on 12 February, Judge Raúl Rosales Mora, who is in charge of Lima's Fifth Constitutional Court, pointed a gun at Carlos Saavedra, a photojournalist for the "Caretas" magazine. At the time of the incident, Saavedra was attempting to take the judge's picture for an article for an upcoming edition of the magazine. The incident took place in Lima's Lince district as Rosales was driving his car on a public road. When the judge noticed that Saavedra was taking a picture of him, he pulled out a gun and pointed it at the reporter. He then showed him the gun several more times in a threatening manner. When Saavedra complained about his behavior, Rosales told him to be careful and watch what he was doing.

Judge Rosales was recently questioned for issuing a ruling that attempted to reinstate a controversial judge in the Constitutional Tribunal.

IPYS condemns Judge Rosales's inappropriate and abusive behavior, which constitutes a threat to both freedom of information and the ability of journalists to do their work.

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