Case History: Nelson Orrego
On 21 May 2011 human rights defender and journalist Mr Nelson Orrego received a death threat via email to his workplace, following the publication of articles relating to crimes committed by paramilitaries in Colombia.
Nelson Orrego has been working as a journalist with Periferia Prensa Alternativa (Periferia Alternative Press) since 2009, and has investigated and published various articles relating to victims of crimes carried out by paramilitary and drug-trafficking groups.
On 21 May 2011 human rights defender and journalist Mr Nelson Orrego received a death threat via email to his workplace. The following message was sent to the newspaper “todavia se encuentra ese hijo de puta del nelson orrego escondido detras de los escritorios de periferia, escribiendo articulos con nombres ficticios y montandosela a quen le da la gana.si a un hijo de puta como el nelson orrego no le entra la bala, ya veremos si una sierra electrica le entra o no.” (We are still seeing this son of a bitch Nelson Orrego hiding behind the desks of Periferia, writing articles under fictitious names and fabricating stories about whoever he feels like. If a bullet doesn't enter Nelson Orrego we will see if an electric saw will).
The email address from which the threat was sent was email@example.com and the IP address of the computer used was 126.96.36.199. It is reported that this address has been linked to the Internet service of Telmex Colombia S.A. and that the computer from which it was sent is situated in Bogotá. A more thorough investigation of the IP address showed regular visits to the website of Periferia (www.periferiaprensa.org) since 2009.
Nelson Orrego has written articles relating to victims of crimes committed by paramilitaries in Colombia. One such article entitled ”Casi todo está podrido en la minorista” (“Nearly everything is rotten in La Minorista”) reported on the presence of people linked to the activities of paramilitary groups and drug traffickers at the market place of “Plaza Minorista” in Medellín. Following publication of this article Nelson Orrego was accused of libel. A settlement meeting was held between the journalist and the complainant, Julio César Piedrahita, who is the manager of the Coomerca co-operative which administers the market square but to date no agreement has been reached between the two parties.
Front Line believes that the death threat received by Nelson Orrego is directly related to his work in defence of human rights and in particular to his reports on crimes carried out by paramilitary and drug-trafficking groups in Colombia. Front Line is concerned for his physical and psychological integrity.