PBI-Colombia welcomes court ruling in favour of journalist Claudia Julieta Duque
This week the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project highlighted the case of journalist Claudia Julieta Duque in their Quarterly Human Rights Update.
They note: “PBI Colombia welcomes the historic ruling made public on 16 August in the case of journalist Claudia Julieta Duque, accompanied by PBI since 2003.”
“The Administrative Court of Cundinamarca sentenced the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of the Interior, and the successor of the former Department of Administrative Security (DAS) to pay economic redress for the threats, kidnapping, and systematic psychological torture she suffered at the hands of the former DAS between 2001 and 2010; as well as a lack of governmental protection and delays in the judicial proceedings.”
“The ruling resulted from a lawsuit filed by the journalist in 2012 based on the illegal actions perpetrated against her in response to journalistic work investigating the state’s responsibility in humorist Jaime Garzón’s murder.”
In June 2019, Time magazine named Claudia one of the 10 journalists in the world facing the most urgent threats to press freedom.
That article noted: “Duque has endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance, psychological torture and repeated exiles as a result of her work.”
And in April of this year, the One Free Press Coalition listed Claudia in their top ten list of the “most pressing cases of journalists under attack for pursuing the truth.”
It noted: “Journalist fears for her life, amid government-orchestrated threats. After 19 years of persecution and legal censorship, award-winning journalist Claudia Julieta Duque told IWMF [the International Women’s Media Foundation] that she learned on February 29 about an ongoing criminal threat against her life. According to Duque, agents of the state institution in charge of protecting human rights defenders and at-risk journalists, called the National Protection Unit (UNP), were reportedly ordered to carry out intelligence activities to infiltrate Duque’s security scheme and threaten her welfare.”
On accompaniment by Peace Brigades International, Claudia has stated: “I feel very safe when I’m with PBI, they are like my guardian angels. I really feel that daily accompaniment enables me to keep doing my job, I feel much calmer.”
She has also commented: “They are indispensable people who not only support you but accompany with respect and dedication for your struggles and with their company give you the strength to continue. Many of the things I do could not be done without PBI.”
A fuller update from PBI-Colombia’s Bogota Field Team can be read here.