El Salvador: Radio employees sent death threats by text
Staff at a local radio station in El Salvador, have been sent a series of death threats by text, after their station broadcast details of the brutal murders of three individuals with anti-mining activism links in the area.
The explicit threats sent to employees at Radio Victoria read: “We already sent two to the pit… the question is who will be the third? The deaths will continue and nobody can stop the revenge already begun, we prefer that the third of the dead should be a presenter, or a correspondent, or anybody else from that damn radio station, the safest target is a presenter. Be careful, we're not playing around this is the new wave of warnings that we're beginning after killing Ramiro."
The latest horrific murder took place on 26 December, when Dora Alicia Recinos Sorto who was eight months pregnant, was shot dead, and her two-year-old child wounded. She and her husband, José Santos Rodríguez, were both members of the Cabañas Environment Committee. This followed the murder of Ramiro Rivera, who is directly referred to in the threat and was the legal representative of the NGO Cabañas Environment Committee (Comité Ambiental de Cabañas). He was also murdered in December, having survived an attack in August in which he was shot eight times. Rivera’s murder followed that of another prominent local anti-mining activist, Gustavo Marcelo Rivera in June last year.
Amnesty is very concerned for the safety of employees at Radio Victoria, who received a second text which read: "We've already chosen the next one to die.” Following receipt of that threat, six armed men on motorbikes were seen arriving at the home of the head of Radio Victoria's news team, Isabel Gámez.
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “It is outrageous that journalists are being targeted for doing their job and broadcasting on crucial issues for the local community, such as environmental concerns and corruption. The authorities must act quickly to ensure the safety of the staff at Radio Victoria and to bring those responsible for the murders and the issuing of death threats to justice.”
Radio Victoria is a community radio station, known for its commitment to social and human rights reporting. Broadcasters at the station had reported on corruption issues and anti-mining campaigns, and called for those responsible for the abduction and killing of Gustavo Marcelo Rivera to be brought to justice.
Amnesty is calling on the authorities to order a prompt, full and independent investigation into the threats against Radio Victoria staff, and the recent killings of Gustavo Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera and Dora Alicia Recinos Sorto.