Journalist attacked, threatened after reporting on colleague’s murder

New York, March 24, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by threats against Peruvian radio journalist Rory Huaney Rodríguez in the city of Yungay, in the northern Áncash province. Huaney said the threats stem from his coverage of the trial of a former local mayor charged in the 2004 murder of journalist Antonio de la Torre Echeandía.

In an interview with CPJ, Huaney said the situation escalated Saturday evening. He alleged that the son of former Yungay mayor Amaro León beat and kicked him. The ex-mayor’s son, Jean Carlo León Martínez, warned Huaney to stop talking about his father or he would be killed, the reporter told CPJ. The elder León was convicted in December 2005 of killing radio reporter De la Torre Echeandía.

Police in Huaraz, the capital of Ancash, told CPJ that Huaney filed a complaint on Monday and they have summoned the younger León for questioning next week.

Huaney said he has received repeated death threats since September 2004, when he began reporting on the former mayor’s trial for Yungay-based Radio Órbita. In response to the threats, Huaney stopped covering the trial in November 2005 and began working as a reporter for Radio Fuego in Yungay.

De la Torre, host of “El Equipo de la Noticia” on Radio Órbita, was stabbed to death on February 14, 2004. De la Torre was a harsh critic of Amaro León, whom he accused of malfeasance. On December 15, 2005, the Áncash Superior Court of Justice convicted the ex-mayor and three other men in the murder. They were each sentenced to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay damages of 20,000 soles (US$6,000) to the journalist’s family.