Colombia’s Prosecutor’s Office maintained Wednesday that protecting investigative journalist Claudia Lopez, who recently fled the country after receiving threats, was outside of their jurisdiction because she was not serving as a witness in a court of law.
“The protection of people in danger is not necessarily the responsibility of the Prosecutor’s Office,” said vice-prosecuting general, Jorge Perdomo. “We want to be vehement that we only protect people who are serving as witnesses, for example within the penal process.”
While Perdomo said the office regretted the situation, he assured that an investigation was underway, although with some difficulty, “It is an investigation like many investigations that go forward somewhat problematically.”
The vice-prosecuting general pointed to another government body in charge of protecting threatened citizens, a government police agency known as the Unidad Nacional de Proteccion (UNP).
When Colombia Reports called to verify whether the agency had been protecting Claudia Lopez in the days leading to her forced departure from the country, UNP refused to divulge the information.