Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa - FLIP

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Salud Hernández, observer for El Tiempo, was kidnapped last saturday somewhere around noon by ELN in the Catatumbo region. This Friday, May 27, somewhere around 3p.m, she has been released to the priest of the parish of San Calixto in Ocaña (Norte de Santander region) and officials of the Defensoría del Pueblo. The RCN correspondents Diego D. Pablos and his cameraman, for their part, were released around 7p.m.

On Thursday, 26 May, the defense minister, Luis Carlos Villegas, confirmed that the journalist Salud Hernández was being held by ELN alongside with Diego D. Pablos, a focal point for RCN and Carlos Melo, cameraman for the same.

Five days have passed with no news of journalist Salud Hernandez’s wheareabouts in the Catatumbo region; three days have passed since Diego D’Pablos and Carlos Melo were kidnapped while reporting on Salud Hernandez’s disappearance.

Given these situations, which constitute grave violations of press freedom, and the lapse of time since these journalists were last seen, the Foundation for Press Freedom calls all journalists, media and citizens to support the following:

The Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) expresses concern about the continued agressions toward the press in the Catatumbo region. Agressions and retentions of broadcast journalists occurred on Monday, adding onto the disappearance of Salud Hernandez.

The Colombian Association of Daily Editors and Informative Outlets (Andiarios) and the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) are extremely concerned that more than 48 hours have passed since the location of Salud Hernández Mora was last known.

The Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) expresses its concern for Salud Hernandez and asks that the Colombian government increase efforts to find her.

Salud Hernández has been in the Catatumbo region since Monday, May 16. According to a journalist in the region, the columnist from El Tiempo traveled to Ocaña to work on a story about Army Captain Wilmar Duran, who was condemned to 28 years in prison in the Santander Batallion for killing a farmer. Hernández was also investigating the death of Megateo, leader of the EPL, and erradication of illegal cultivations.

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