Journalist takes Colombia to international court for failure to investigate sexual assault

Veteran journalist Jineth Bedoya, currently an editor for El Tiempo newspaper, has filed a claim against the Colombian government at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for failing to fully investigate the kidnapping and sexual assault she suffered in 2000, The Associated Press reports.

Bedoya was raped in front of a Bogotá prison while attempting to interview a paramilitary leader for El Espectador newspaper, EFE explains. She was then held for 16 hours where she suffered sexual abuse and physical and psychological torture at the hands of her kidnappers.

The IACHR complaint was filed on her behalf by the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP), which strongly criticized the government for the “minimal” advances in the case: “The case is still under investigation…without anyone being prosecuted for what happened. The Colombian government has failed in its duty to investigate and punish those responsible within a reasonable timeframe.”

According to El Espectador, Bedoya criticized the culture of impunity in the country, accused prosecutors of having neglected the case, and declared that she wants justice, not just solidarity.

Bedoya is one of the few female journalists who has publicly recognized her sexual abuse while on the job. Recently, the case of sexual abuse against CBS correspondent Lara Logan in Egypt brought to the forefront the dangers female journalists face. Bedoya currently heads the “Rape and other Violence: Leave my Body Out of War" campaign.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.