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Journalists investigating corruption assaulted by police officers

(OLA/IFEX) - On 8 April 2010, Lenin Quevedo and Andrés Velarde, the host and a reporter, respectively, of the "Reacción" news programme broadcast on Canal Vía Televisión, were assaulted by police officers Ramiro Portilla Zárate and Fredy Gonzáles Llamosa. The officers are members of the National Peruvian Police (Policía Nacional del Perú, PNP) and are stationed in the Morales Police Department, in San Martín province, San Martín department.

The journalists had gone to the police station to gather information on a bribery case that allegedly involves the police department.

Officer Portilla took the journalists to his office, asked them for their papers and threatened to file a complaint against them. Officer Gonzáles then came in and grabbed Quevedo by the neck. There was a struggle during which Portilla took Quevedo's camera. Velarde tried to film the incident, but was assaulted.

The head of the department, PNP Commander Fernando Estrada, ordered the officers to give back the camera they had taken. He apologised for the incident and promised the journalists that the offending officers would face disciplinary action.

"We are investigating a corruption case, that the police are allegedly implicated in. We wanted to get the officers' comments but the violent reaction we received suggests that they are trying to hide something," Quevedo said.

According to media reports, certain police officers are under investigation by the PNP Inspector in relation to a number of corruption cases.

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