Ceso FIP Alert: Masked gunmen insist on threats against a journalist in Sincelejo, Colombia

The Center of Solidarity of the International Federation of Journalists, Ceso- FIP, expresses concern for the safety of journalist Robinson Ruz Ruz, in the city of Sincelejo, northern Colombia, after the police took away his safety measures and five days later, he was once again threatened directly by two unidentified armed men on motorcycles.

As Ceso-FIP informed last November 29 through an alert, the colleague Ruz Ruz, a guest journalist for Radio Piragua and counselor for a congressman from Sucre, received at the radio station an envelope with his name on it and inside a mortuary message, short time after Ruz Ruz was granted a regional journalism award for his work on links between politicians and extreme right wing paramilitaries.

Last December 19, in the afternoon, as Robinson was driving on a highway in Sincelejo, capital of the Department of Sucre, at about a block from El Universal daily, two masked men riding motorcycles blocked his way, and one of the gunmen with an Uzi submachine gun, approached the car window and said to the journalist: “You smell like formalin, if you continue bothering with issues regarding self defense groups and their connection to politicians in Sucre, you will have to face the consequences.”

However, given the evidently dangerous situation the colleague is going through, with no explanation the police lifted protection measures provided for the journalist during nighttime, all in place until last December 24.

“We do not understand the attitude of the police of Sucre during moments of threats against four colleagues for informing on paramilitarism and corruption. The case of Robinson Ruz is very delicate, threats are increasing and can easily become realities that could overshadow the commitment of the police institutions”, said Eduardo Márquez, Ceso-FIP Director, “For the transparency of the demobilization process with the Self Defense groups and for the future of press freedom in the Atlantic coast, it is vital authorities guarantee the life of journalists in the region.”

“We also do not comprehend this wave of threats, when it is assumed paramilitary leaders are not only handing in their weapons, but also confessing all their crimes in public hearings as part of an agreement to reduce their sentences and reintegrate into civil society. Attempting to hide the close relationship between important politicians, government officials and paramilitary structures by threatening journalists, is like trying to cover the sun with one hand, as the truth that runs from voice to voice always finds its way and could cause awful consequences for the outcomes of their criminal trials”, concluded Márquez.

Center of Solidarity

International Federation of Journalists

Ceso- FIP