Chema Gil, the editor of Noticias de Murcia (www.noticiasdemurcia.com), a news website covering the southeastern region of Murcia, has been receiving death threats against himself, his wife and his daughter again in the past few days. Gil links the threats to the investigation he has been conducting for several years into a real estate project in Torre Pacheco in which several Murcia politicians and a local businessman are allegedly involved in corrupt practices.
Gil has been getting repeated threats ever since he first wrote several stories about the project in 2004 in his former newspaper, La Gaceta del Mar Menor. Most of the threats were made by telephone, but some were made on the Torre Pacheco town hall’s website.
A court in San Javier, which is in charge of the case, recently decided to lift reporting restrictions on the transcripts of telephone taps in the case file. According to Gil, some of the transcripts show that the town hall is involved in the threats against his family. Gil left Spain with his family for a week for security reasons, but returned on 18 February to continue his research. He accuses the authorities of passivity in response to these repeated threats and says the police advised him to suspend his reporting on the grounds that it was not helping their investigation.
Reporters Without Borders urges the Spanish authorities to pursue their investigations in order to identify those responsible for the threats and to establish their motives.