Peru journalist facing death threats after police exposé

Reporters Without Borders wants authorities to identify and arrest those responsible

Peru journalist facing death threats after police exposé

Doris Aguirre | Image: Reporters Without Borders

An investigative journalist in Peru is facing death threats after revealing the existence of an alleged death squad within the Peruvian National Police (PNP).

Doris Aguirre wrote a series of reports published by daily newspaper La República in July.

She alleged that members of the PNP had participated in a death squad responsible for the extrajudicial executions of at least 27 people.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is calling on the authorities to identify and arrest those responsible for the threats, and to guarantee the safety of Peru's journalists.

Ms Aguirre says she received anonymous calls on her mobile phone on August 12th, in which she was insulted and threatened with being the death squad's next victim.

Her claims prompted a judicial investigation that acknowledged that there was hard evidence confirming the implication of police officers in these operations.

"It is absolutely essential that the Peruvian authorities identify the source of these threats and bring those responsible to justice," said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF's Latin America desk.

"In view of the gravity of La República’s revelations and the ensuing judicial investigation’s initial findings, the threats against Doris Aguirre must be taken very seriously and must be dealt with in a manner that is beyond reproach."

"The authorities have a duty to protect journalists in danger and to guarantee the free flow of news and information, regardless of their nature," he added.

RSF says it extends its fullest support to Ms Aguirre, who said that these threats "have changed my life."

RSF says the government acknowledged three days ago that a group of senior and junior PNP officers had summarily executed at 27 alleged criminals between 2012 and 2015, while pretending to conduct official operations.

Peru is ranked 84th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2016 World Press Freedom Index, compared to Ireland's ranking of 9th.