MEXICO: Investigative Journalist Murdered in Veracruz


RAN 23/12 2 May 2012

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is appalled by the recent murder of veteran Mexican journalist Regina Martínez. Martínez, a correspondent for the investigative news magazine Proceso, was found dead at her home in Veracruz state on 28 April 2012. She had been badly beaten and strangled. The WiPC calls for a thorough investigation into her murder.

Regina Martínez had worked as a journalist for 30 years, ten of which she had spent reporting for Proceso where she wrote about drug trafficking and organised crime. Previously, she had been a correspondent for the Mexican daily La Jornada.

Police entered Martínez’ home on the afternoon of 28 April, following a call from a concerned neighbour. The attending officers found the journalist dead in her bathroom. She had been beaten on the face and body, and then strangled.

Although the Mexican authorities have not suggested a motive for Martinez’ murder, they have confirmed that they will be investigating a possible link with her work. According to reports, the Attorney General of the Republic of Mexico will participate in the investigation.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to practise journalism, and Vercruz is one of its most dangerous states. In the past year, at least three journalists have been murdered in Veracruz, including Martínez.

These include:

Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, (kidnapped and beheaded).

Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco, (shot alongside his wife and son).

There have also been shocking attacks on newspaper premises. In November 2011, an armed gang assaulted the offices of the Veracruz-based El Buen Tono. There were no casualties, but the offices were badly burned. Please see here for footage of the attack: El Buen Tono

In Veracruz, state corruption is widespread. In December 2011, the Veracruz municipal police force was considered so rotten that it had to be disbanded altogether; law enforcement was handed over to the Mexican navy.

PEN International has been campaigning for attacks on journalists to be made federal crimes. In March, the relevant amendment to the constitution was passed by the Mexican senate. It now has to be approved by a majority of individual Mexican states. So far, ten states have ratified the amendment. Another six have to approve it for it to pass into law.

To read about why federalization of attacks on journalists matters, please see: Attacks on Journalists in Mexico

Please send appeals:

Protesting the murder in Veracruz state of journalist Regina Martínez;
Calling for a full and impartial investigation into the killing, focusing on Martínez’ journalistic work as a possible motive, with the involvement of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression

Appeals to:

    President

Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: (+ 52 55) 5093 4901/ 5277 2376
Email: felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

    Attorney General of the Republic

Lic. Marisela Morales Ibáñez
Procuradora General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Tel: + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask “tono de fax, por favor”)
E-mail: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx
Salutation: Señora Procuradora General/Dear Attorney General

    State Attorney General

Lic. Felipe Amadeo Flores Espinosa
Procurador General de Justicia
Cto. Rafael Guizar y Valencia No. 707
Col. Reserva Territorial, C.P. 91096
Xalapa, Veracruz, México
pgjver@pgjver.gob.mx

    Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression

Lic. Laura Angelina Borbolla
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas (FEADP)
Email: feadp@pgr.gob.mx

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.
See http://www.sre.gob.mx/acerca/directorio/embajadas/dirembajadas.htm

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 2 July 2012.***

For further details please contact Cathal Sheerin at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: PEN International, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: cathal.sheerin@pen-international.org