Colombian Journalist Amparo Leonor Jiménez Pallares Murdered

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August 12, 1998

His Excellency Andrés Pastrana
President of Colombia
Bogotá, Colombia


Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to condemn the murder of Amparo LeonorJiménez Pallares, and to urge an impartial and comprehensive investigation into this crime.

According to local press reports and CPJ sources in Colombia, Jiménez was killed yesterday at 6:15 a.m. in front of her home in Valledupar, Cesar department. She was shot several times in the head by a gunman who fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice. Jiménez had just returned from dropping her 11-year-old son at school.

Jiménez, 37, had worked as a television reporter up until two months ago, when she took a job for at the Network of Initiatives for Peace and Against War (REDEPAZ), a national human rights organization. Prior to joining REDEPAZ, Jiménez had worked for "En Vivo," a news magazine show, and "QAP," a nightly news program. According to local journalists, Jiménez began receiving threats in 1996 while working on a documentary about peasants who had been displaced when a government official appropriated land in the town of Pelaya. In the most blatant incident, which occurred while she was filming the documentary, members of a right-wing militia stole Jiménez’s video and tapes.

Given the history of threats against Jiménez, we fear that she was murdered because of her work as a journalist. If so, this would make Jiménez the fourth journalist killed in the line of duty in Colombia this year, more than in any other country. CPJ is also investigating the murders of two other Colombian journalists to determine if they were killed because of their work.

As an organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of our colleagues around the world, CPJ believes that the ability of journalists to report freely without fear of reprisal is essential for the peaceful resolution of Colombia’s civil war. Because exposing abuses is the first step in creating a more just society, those who seek to silence critical reporting through violence commit a crime against all Colombians. We call on Your Excellency to devote the full resources of your office to bring those responsible for the murder of Jiménez, and the killers of the five other murdered Colombian journalists, to justice.

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director



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His Excellency Andrés Pastrana
President of Colombia
Bogotá, Colombia

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