Regina Martínez, a correspondent for the investigative news magazine Proceso, was found dead at her home in Xalapa, Veracruz state on 28 April 2012. She had been badly beaten and strangled. The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International and other free expression organizations believe that it is highly likely that her death was connected to her work, which focused on organised crime and corruption. We call for a thorough investigation into her murder.
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 2012, 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.
Serious concerns have been raised about the investigation into Martínez’s murder. Despite public demonstrations in the streets of Xalapa by journalists calling for a thorough investigation into possible links between her journalism and her death, the authorities in Veracruz have been slow, even reluctant to look at a link to organized crime. It is reported that investigators have decided that Martínez’s murder was a ‘crime of passion,’ an interpretation rejected by Proceso, Martínez’s former employer, and by numerous journalists in Veracruz. Proceso has reported that investigators have concentrated their efforts solely on interviewing other journalists.
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. Earlier in 2012, a death list was circulated naming a number of local journalists who were to be killed. 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.
Regina Martínez is one of the cases featured in PEN International’s Write Against Impunity campaign, a literary protest against attacks on journalists in Latin America.
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
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
Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression
Lic. Laura Angelina Borbolla
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas (FEADP)
Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.
For further details please contact Tamsin Mitchell 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: Tamsin.firstname.lastname@example.org