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Monday, April 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Relief Workers Threatened in Congo

LOS ANGELES (CN) - World Vision International claims that John Does have threatened the lives of the employee who directs its relief work in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The threats, in French, claimed the senders would kill the man and his wife and children, and another worker, unless they resign.

"In the Yahoo! email, translated from French to English, defendants give [Kostas] Kotopoulos 'a last warning,'" according to the complaint. "They claim to know where to locate Kotopoulos's wife and two children and warn Kotopoulos to 'take this letter seriously because the life of your women, especially your wife and 2 children depend on it and they are in complete insecurity for the moment.' Defendants threaten, 'if you really love your family stop behaving like a colonialist, racist, pagan and egoist as your ancestors have done in province Oriental.' They conclude: 'Be ready because at any moment we can act in a bad way, and this is not good for the morning devotion.'"

The message gives Kotopoulos and his "faithful" assistant 48 hours to resign.

In the complaint in Superior Court, World Vision describes itself as "an international humanitarian organization" that serves "communities in crisis, often in the world's most violent and poverty-stricken regions." It adds that "In the past three years, World Vision employees have faced numerous death threats, prompting at least two employees to resign."

World Vision is an evangelical, Christian organization.

It seeks discovery of the people who sent the emails, and damages for interference with contract. It is represented by Timothy Yoo with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

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