The attacks on journalists by Mubarak paid thugs shocked the world. Imagine a more powerful groups of thugs, better trained and equipped, and feeling confident enough to issue publicly death sentences on journalists. These are the infamous Colombian extreme right-wing paramilitary group "Central Command of the Black Eagles" who sent out threats to named Colombian journalists and also to human rights organisations.
The chilling e-mails declared journalists Hollman Morris, Daniel Coronell, Marcos Perales Mendoza, Claudia Julieta Duque (NUJ Honorary Member) and Eduardo Márquez, president of the IFJ affiliate, the Colombian Federation of Journalists FECOLPER, military targets. “The time has come to exterminate and eliminate all the people and organisations that try to pass as human rights defenders and even try to infiltrate international NGOs, journalists (...). We will find you at your offices, at the houses you live in (...). We are watching you and right now consider yourself dead" they wrote.
We are taking these threats extremely seriously and many of our unions are visiting Colombian embassies in their countries to remind them of the responsibility of the Colombian government to protect these journalists. I urge all our member unions to consider sending a delegation or at least to write to Colombian ambassadors expressing concerns about the death threats and asking for assurances that the Colombian government will take action to protect journalists and deal with the paramilitaries.
Links between these armed thugs and authorities are well documented. It is incredibly revealing that the recent threats include the same messages used publicly before by former president Uribe such as "human rights traffickers" which he once called journalists at press conferences or that journalists try to "pass as human rights defenders" and demanding they "take off masks". Among the targeted journalists, Daniel Coronell has been exposing the illegal surveillance and persecution by the Colombian secret police (DAS) of journalists, magistrates, members of the opposition and human rights defenders.
Since 1997 over 150 journalists have been murdered in Colombia (seven during 2010). See the full list at http://americalatina.ifj.org/es/articles/informe-sobre-agresiones-a-periodistas-en-colombia-durante-2010. The list also documents 189 aggressions, including a sexual assault and four attacks against media, making Colombia one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.
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