A local journalist was assassinated in northern Colombia only weeks after the government removed his protective detail, media and the local press freedom watchdog said Tuesday.
Carlos Cervantes had been receiving death threats for years before being gunned down Tuesday on his way to pick up his son from school in the village of Taraza, in the northwestern state of Antioquia, according to Colombia’s Caracol Radio.
Two weeks before the murder, Cervantes had reported to the authorities that his life had been threatened, and that a man who identified himself as alias “Morroco” warned him he had two hours to leave Taraza, reported Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper.
According to Colombia’s Foundation for the Freedom of Press (FLIP), the slain reporter had been receiving death threats as far back as 2010.
However, according to Colombia’s National Protection Unit (UNP) under the Ministry of the Interior, “There was no casual link between threats received by the communicator and his work as a journalist,” Colombia’s W Radio reported.
The UNP had implemented a protection scheme for Cervantes beginning in June 2012, but it was called-off on July 24, 2014 because Cervantes had not practiced journalism in over a year.
Cervantes had been working as the director of an FM radio station in Taraza, which consisted mainly of musical programs, and he was considered low-risk by the UNP at the time of his assassination.
Despite the UNP’s claims to the contrary, Cervantes remained convinced that his work uncovering local corruption was the reason he was being targetted. Cervantes had previously claimed that the local mayor’s office was conspiring to have him killed.