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Mexico3 April 2006

No progress in investigation into journalist who went missing a year ago

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the lack of results in the investigation into the disappearance exactly one year ago of reporter Alfredo Jiménez Mota of the daily El Imparcial in Hermosillo in the northwestern state of Sonora, despite the involvement of the federal authorities.

“Despite President Vicente Fox’s repeated promises, the investigators have not come up with any additional clues about Jiménez’s disappearance, which was clearly linked to his work as a journalist,” the press freedom organisation said. “We call for the new special prosecutor’s office in charge of cases involving attacks on the press to be given all the resources its needs to solve this case, which like so many others, bears the seal of impunity.”

According to the staff at El Imparcial, Jiménez sounded nervous when he phoned a colleague at around 9 p.m. on 2 April 2005 to say he had to go and meet one of his contacts. He said the meeting would be short and that he would join his colleague afterwards. That was the last anyone heard of him.

Jiménez was known for conducting risky investigations into crime and drug trafficking which exposed him to all kinds of reprisals.

His disappearance marked the start of a black week for the Mexican press, which has seen little improvement since then. Three days after Jiménez’s disappearance, Guadalupe Garcia Escamilla of radio Estéreo 91 XHNOE in Nuevo Laredo in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas was shot outside the station on 5 April 2005 and died 11 days later from her injuries.

And three days after that, on 8 April 2005, Raúl Gibb Guerrero, the editor of the daily La Opinión, was murdered in Papantla in the eastern state of Veracruz. The leading suspect, Martín Rojas, the alleged head of a Veracruz gasoline smuggling ring, was arrested on 4 July in the United States but has not yet been extradited.

As a result of this surge in violence against journalists, the federal justice ministry created a special prosecutor’s office for such cases on 15 February. Two more journalists have been killed in connection with their work so far this year.

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