Category: Press Releases, The Americas, Mexico

Tortured, then Murdered: Journalist Found in Shallow Grave near Acapulco, Mexico

IPI Concerned at Continuing Cycle of Unsolved Journalist Killings

Mexican federal police stand guard during the search of a home in the resort city of Acapulco, Mexico, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007. Photo: AP /Gregory Bull

IPI calls on the Mexican authorities to act immediately to stem the systematic killing of reporters, following the brutal murder of radio journalist Juan Daniel Martínez Gil near Acapulco on the evening of Monday 27 July.

Gil’s murder is another example of the grave danger the media face in Mexico, which is the Western Hemisphere’s deadliest country for journalists.

A group of passers-by found the half-buried body of Radiorama presenter Martínez Gil by a roadside some 13km outside of Acapulco. He was last seen around 11.30pm that evening driving towards his home on the outskirts of the resort town, shortly after completing a regular evening broadcast for the station.

Radiorama reported that Martínez Gil’s body showed signs of beating. Forensic experts believe he died of suffocation.

“His body was buried, there was tape covering his face, he was beaten, swollen and shirtless,” said Ana Rosa Palma, news director at the station, in an interview with Spanish language news agency EFE.

Martinez Gil, who had over thirty years’ experience in the media, hosted live evening news broadcasts for Radiorama. According to EFE, his colleagues believe he was the victim of organised crime, due to the “viciousness” with which he was murdered.

At least three other journalists have been killed this year in Mexico alone, including Durango-based newspaper correspondent Carlos Ortega Samper, who was shot dead in May by unidentified gunmen near his home in Santa María del Oro, Eliseo Barrón Hernández, another newspaper reporter from Durango, whose body was recovered from a ditch in May in the town of Torreón, and Lolo Palmer, a Campeche-based society reporter who died in June after an unknown assailant stabbed him 15 times.

Some critical journalists who ‘disappear’ in Mexico are never found – they are presumed to have been kidnapped and possibly murdered.

These include Rodolfo Rincón Taracena, a Tabasco-based crime reporter who vanished in January 2007 and who has not been seen since. IPI is campaigning for a conclusion in the case of Rincón Taracena as part of its “Justice Denied” campaign.

“The Mexican authorities must work harder to stop these shocking murders and disappearances,” said IPI Director David Dadge. “This seemingly never-ending cycle of impunity is not only damaging to press freedom in Mexico, but also undermines confidence in the government’s ability to uphold other fundamental human rights.”

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