Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Colombia: Black Eagles Threaten Freedom of the Press, Says RSF

According to The Latin American Tribune, Colombian photojournalist and indigenous rights activist Juan Pablo Gutierrez has received death threats, Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday (August 26).

“You have just a few hours of life left,” said a note handed to Gutierrez on August 14, according to a statement from the Paris-based group known by the French initials RSF.

The threatening message was signed by the paramilitary group, Aguilas Negras (Black Eagles).

The authors of the threat are probably the same people who intimidated the photographer in September 2011 because of his reporting with an eye toward making the public aware of the fate of the Nukak, an indigenous community in the southeastern Colombian Amazon, RSF added.

COMMENT: The Black Eagles are now accusing Gutierrez of not having respected their demands that he stop working with indigenous people and leave Colombia.

The photographer, who collaborates with the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, is currently working on documentary projects and photo campaigns on threatened indigenous communities.

“We urge the Colombian authorities, especially the National Protection Unit, to take the threats to Gutierrez seriously and to quickly provide him with [effective police protection]” said Camille Soulier, the head of RSF’s Americas desk.

RSF notes that paramilitary groups continue to be the main source of danger for journalists and human rights defenders in Colombia.

The Black Eagles were responsible for the terror campaigns against the press in 2006-2007, and in March 2011 the paramilitary group released a list with the names of five journalists whom they promised to murder, RSF said.