Caretas, the leading newsweekly magazine in Perú, has a shocking photograph on its February 18 cover: a local judge aiming a gun at one of the publication’s reporters. Photojournalist Carlos Saavedra was on a stakeout trying to photograph Judge Raúl Rosales Mora when the incident occurred on February 13, according to CPJ interviews and local news reports.
The magazine was working on a story about a controversial decision by Rosales, who had recently favored the appointment of a polemical judge to the country’s Constitutional Tribunal, the Peruvian press reported.
Rosales was leaving home in his car in the Lima neighborhood of Lince when he asked Saavedra to come closer. When the Caretas photojournalist approached, the judge pointed a gun at him and told him to be careful, according to Caretas.
The judge’s version of the facts, told in the Lima-based daily El Comercio, is a bit different. Rosales said he pointed the gun because he had mistaken the reporter for a thief. The judge justified his decision by saying that crime in Lima is rampant and anyone can get killed for a few soles, the Peruvian currency. In an interview with Peruvian news Web site RPP, Rosales said he reacted when Saavedra pulled out his camera. The judge also said that the reporter was not wearing press credentials.
Saavedra told CPJ that he was holding his camera the whole time: “He couldn’t have thought I was someone else because my camera was the only thing I had in my hands,” Saavedra said.
Neither side plans to file charges, the local press reported.