By Alejandro Martínez
Unknown men broke into the home of Chilean journalist Mauricio Weibel on Dec. 15 and stole his laptop, in which he kept his investigation on the armed forces' secret services during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, informed Reporters Without Borders.
The thieves only took the computer, which contained material Wiebel was using to follow up on his recent book, “Asociación Ilícita: los archivos secretos de la dictadura" ("Illicit Association: the secret archives of the dictatorship"), reported the web portal Terra. Twenty-four hours before the robbery, Weibel's car was also stolen. It turned up hours later after being completely dismantled, RSF said.
Two congressmen from Chile's communist party said the incident was a "persecution" against Weibel and called for an investigation, radio station Nuevo Mundo reported. RSF said the crime "was no ordinary robbery" and called for the protection of the journalist and his family.
“The authorities should have reacted when Weibel filed a complaint about the threats he was getting while researching previously inaccessible archives,” RSF said. “It is still dangerous for journalists in former Operation Condor countries to investigate the activities of the military governments that were ruling them in the 1970s."
Weibel is co-founder and president of the South American Union of Foreign Correspondents' Associations, a journalist with German news agency DPA and an RSF correspondent. He's also the son of José Weibel, a communist leader in Chile who was detained and disappeared during the dictatorship years.
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.