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Journalist reports being assaulted by municipal councillors he is investigating

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 9 December 2011, Iván Julca Mendoza, editor of the bi-weekly "El Especial de Ancash" newspaper and director of the Radio Melodía programme "Ancash Opina", reported that he was beaten at the headquarters of the municipal district of Independencia by seven individuals. Among them were two council members he is investigating in a case of alleged influence peddling. The incident took place in the Huaraz region of northern Peru.

Julca told IPYS that he went to the municipality's headquarters to deliver the most recent issue of his paper and get more information on the case involving councillors Héctor Pineda Torres and Isidro Reyes Díaz. The journalist had disseminated audio recordings a few days earlier that demonstrated the councillors' interest in having certain businesses granted construction contracts for work to be done in the area.

When Julca arrived at the municipal headquarters, several men pushed him inside and proceeded to punch and kick him. The editor counted seven assailants and recognized Pineda and Reyes. He also saw one of them hit him with keys in hand, which resulted in a cut on his head. As a result of the assault, the journalist was bruised all over his body.

Julca immediately went to the police station to file a complaint. The councillors, however, had arrived there before him and several media outlets reported that the journalist had gone to the municipal headquarters to attack the councillors. The two men displayed suspicious medical certificates that they had obtained at a private medical center owned by the mayor of Independencia, Alfredo Vera Arana. Pineda and Reyes even threatened to file a lawsuit against Julca.

IPYS condemns the attack on the journalist and urges the police to investigate the incident.

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