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Public servant assaults journalists

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 30 October 2011, Mayra Azan, a reporter for Radio Arpegio, and Henry Sánchez, a camera operator for Channel 35, were assaulted by Andrés Salas Del Águila, the protocol assistant for the Regional Government of Loreto, because the journalists videotaped him using state property for an event organized by his relatives. The incident took place in the Loreto region, in northeastern Peru.

The video, which was quickly disseminated by the journalists via the web, showed that the furniture used for the party belonged to the Regional Government since it bore the government logo. Its use for private functions is punishable by law as an act of corruption.

According to the images shown in the video, and as noted by the La Voz de la Selva radio station, the Regional Vice-President, Luis Lozano Escudero, attended the party in place of Regional President Iván Vásquez Valera, and by his presence presumably endorsed the use of government property.

The scandal that resulted from the incident forced the president of the regional government to fire Salas Del Águila four days later, and along with him the Head of Human Resources, Elmer Jesús Carbonel Mostacero. He also asked the president of Loreto's Board of Prosecutors, Mario Gallo Zamudio, to initiate an investigation to determine legal liabilities.

The magistrate has promised that Salas Del Águila will also be investigated for his actions against the journalists. The seriousness of those actions will only be known once the results of the medical examiners reports are made public.

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