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Peru August 10, 2005
H.E. Alejandro Toledo
Office of the President
Palacio de Gobierno
Plaza de Armas S/N
Republic of Peru
Fax: (011.51.14) 32-65-35
As a non-partisan organization committed to defending press freedom throughout the world, we write to express our grave concern over the recent brutal assault of three Peruvian journalists, and over the fact that none of the assailants, including policemen in one instance, have been brought to justice.
We refer to the violent assault on Victor Abel del Castillo Saavedra of TV Sur Canal 9 by police in a public square in Cuzco, the attack on Marilu Gambini Lostanau , a freelance journalist, in her home; and the assault by two women activists on Magno Sosa , editor of the bi-monthly, Rebelión. Sosa, who has been arrested in the past and beaten for his reporting, was assaulted at the Huamanga railway station by Gloria Alvarez de la Cruz and Basiliza Dololier Quispe, who also threatened him with death. Neither of the women, leaders of a group that defends dismissed public employees, has been arrested, according to last reports.
Journalist Gambini was confronted by two men posing as bricklayers who entered her home in Chimbote , searched the premises, and stole specific documents. Gambini, who has written about drug trafficking, was targeted even though she has had government protection since 2000. While not proven, a link to both her drug-related stories, and to the possibility her assailants were members of the armed forces, cannot be ruled out.
The case of del Castillo is especially unsettling since his attackers were fifteen policemen who threatened him with reprisals if he “continued to talk.” A Peruvian press freedom organization, the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, believes the threat concerned his investigation into the alleged payment of bribes to journalists to praise Cuzco ‘s mayor, Carlos Valencia Miranda.
Whether or not these attacks were related to the journalists’ work the assaults on them are suspicious in the least, and they suggest a serious threat to press freedom. We therefore urge you to do all in your power to conduct a thorough investigation , and to bring to justice those responsible.
Norman A. Schorr
Freedom of the Press Committee
Carlos Ferrero Costa
Office of the Prime Minister
Parque Universitario S/n
Republic of Peru
Fax: (011.51.42) 60230
Ambassador of Peru to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Republic of Peru
1700 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington , DC 20036
Fax: (202) 659-8124
Ambassador Oswaldo de Rivero
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Peru
to the United Nations
820 Second Avenue , Suite 1600
New York , NY 10017
Fax: (212) 972-6975
U.S. Ambassador to Peru
Embassy of the United States of America
Avenida La Encalada
Cdr. 17 S/N