Columnist threatened after corruption reports

DECEMBER 20, 2006
Posted: January 12, 2007
Julián Herrera, Clave and Clave Digital

Herrera, a columnist who covers the armed forces for the Santo Domingo-based weekly Clave and the Internet daily Clave Digital, said in an interview with CPJ that he has been threatened and followed by unidentified individuals after reporting on corruption in the Dominican armed forces.

Herrera told CPJ that an unidentified individual called his wife at home around 4 p.m. on December 20 and warned her that he was following Herrera and knew where he was at all times. At 9 p.m. on December 22, Herrera’s wife received another telephone call at home from an unidentified individual, the columnist said.

On the afternoon of December 22, hours before the second phone call, a car followed Herrera to work, he told CPJ. He said another vehicle followed him from his office home on the night of December 23. Herrera’s army sources warned him that day to be careful.

Herrera believes that these intimidations are reprisal for five articles published in November and December 2006 on the disappearance of 43 weapons in 2004, and on the misuse of funds from the Army Health Risks Administration.

Herrera told CPJ that he lodged a complaint with the chief of the army intelligence service on January 8, 2007. However, he told CPJ that he refused the protection offered to him by the secretary of the armed forces because he fears the same people who would protect him are the ones who are threatening him.