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Mexican journalists march against attacks on press

Last Updated: Monday, April 29, 2013 - 09:22

Xalapa (Mexico): Officials in Veracruz state say they know who killed Regina Martinez. The muckraking reporter, found beaten and suffocated in her house, was just the victim of a robbery, according to prosecutors and a local court.

But many of her colleagues don`t believe it. The man convicted of the crime was tortured into a confession, they allege. And the magazine she works for says state officials discussed sending police across the country in an attempt to hunt down and seize another reporter who raised questions about the death, which is one of a growing list of killings that have put Mexico among the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist.

Some 400 people gathered today in the center of Veracruz`s state capital, Xalapa, for a march to demand justice in the Martinez case and an end to attacks on the press. Many held up posters suggesting the government had a hand in the case, some describing it as "a state killing."

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a February report that 12 Mexican journalists went missing in 2006-2012 and 14 were killed because of their work. Mexico`s federal Human Rights Commission lists 81 journalists killed since 2000.

Martinez was the Xalapa correspondent for Proceso, one of Mexico`s most respected investigative newsmagazines, and she was one of the few in the state who continued to work on stories related to drug cartels. Her last story for the magazine was about the arrest of nine police officers accused of links to traffickers.

State officials accused a man named Jorge Antonio Hernandez Silva of taking part in the killing, saying it came during a robbery, and he was sentenced this month to 38 years in prison. But he asserted he was forced to confess through several days of torture and Proceso`s editors don`t believe the killing has been solved, noting that none of the fingerprints found at the scene of the killing match those of Hernandez Silva.

"Those who are truly guilty have not been identified," the magazine said in an online statement.

Mike O`Connor, Mexico representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists said federal officials have doubts too.

"The federal government is not convinced that Hernandez Silva is guilty because a very active investigation by the federal government is continuing," he said.


First Published: Monday, April 29, 2013 - 09:22

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