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Mexico5 December 2006

Police arrest two suspects in murder of Adolfo Sánchez Guzmán

Police in the eastern state of Veracruz revealed yesterday that they had been holding two suspects in the murder of journalist Adolfo Sánchez Guzmán for the past three days. They are Julian Rosas Palestino, 34, and his brother Juan Carlos Rosas Palestino, 30, both from the southern state of Puebla, who were identified thanks to information provided by 10 different witnesses.

According to the police, their target was not Sánchez but a man he had gone to meet, Cesar Martínez López, who was also murdered. The two men believed that Martínez, who had been charged with armed robbery, had stolen their truck, the police say. Sánchez, 31, who worked for Televisa Veracruz and de radio Xhora Ori Stereo 99.3, had been investigating the theft of merchandise from trucks.

Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz state is rife with drug trafficking, gasoline contraband and the hijacking of trucks. Sánchez’s body was found two days after he went missing on 28 November.

01.12.06 - Journalist’s body found two days after he went missing

The police in the eastern state of Vera Cruz have announced that they found Adolfo Sánchez Guzmán’s body yesterday, two days after he was reported missing. According to the Associated Press, Sánchez had been shot. The body was discovered on the road between Ciudad Mendoza and Rio Blanco, near the spot where the police previously found his car, the AP reported.

Sánchez had been working for a local radio station and editing a news website at the time of his death. He had worked for the Televisa Veracruz TV station until September and had been trying to negotiate a new contract with them. A link has yet to be established between his murder and his work.

The modus operandi used by his killers was similar to those used in the 21 November murder of Roberto Marcos García, the editor of the local weekly Testimonio, and the April 2005 murder of Raúl Gibb Guerrero, the editor of the regional daily La Opinión. Both these murders also took place in Vera Cruz state, which is rife with various kinds of trafficking.

If it is confirmed that Sánchez was killed because of his journalist activity, he will be the eighth journalist to be murdered this year in Mexico in connection with their work.

30.11.06 - Another journalist disappears - third this year in Mexico

Reporters Without Borders voiced alarm today at the news that Adolfo Sánchez Guzmán, the correspondent of the TV station Televisa Veracruz and the radio station Xhora Ori Stereo 99.3 in Orizaba, in the eastern state Veracruz, has been missing since 28 November. He is the third journalist to have disappeared this year in Mexico. Seven others have been murdered.

“President Vicente Fox’s successor, Felipe Calderón, will begin his term of office tomorrow with press freedom violations at a level that has not seen anywhere in Latin America except war-torn Colombia,” the press freedom organisation said in a letter to the incoming president.

“While it has not yet been established that Sánchez’s disappearance is linked to his work as a journalist, we have every reason to fear, like his family that he has been the victim of an organised crime kidnapping,” Reporters Without Borders continued. “More than ever before, the fight against organised crime is an essential requirement for the defence of press freedom.”

Sánchez’s father notified the police on 28 November that his son had not returned to his home in Orizaba the previous night. Reporters Without Borders has learned that his car, a green Volkswagen Beetle with the licence plate XYJ6514, was found in the neighbouring town of Ciudad Mendoza. No sign of violence was found inside the car. The reason for his disappearance is not yet known but the family fears he was kidnapped by a local gang.

Local journalists said Sánchez worked for Televisa Veracruz, an affiliate of the Telever group, until September, since when he has been working under contract for Xhora Ori Stereo 99.3, a station owned by a leading Orizaba family.

The two other journalists to have disappeared this year in Mexico are Rafael Ortiz Martínez of the local daily Zócalo, who went missing on 8 July in the northern town of Monclova, and Guevara Guevara Domínguez, the editor of the online weekly Siglo 21, who went missing on 8 October in the northwest of the country.

In this country
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Crime reporter abducted and killed in Durango state
5 May - Mexico
Journalist at odds with local officials gunned down in Durango state
6 March - Mexico
Suspect arrested in photographer’s murder but motive vague
25 February - Mexico
Young radio reporter gunned down in Veracruz state for unclear reasons
22 January - Mexico
Self-censorship, exile or certain death : the choice faced by journalists in Ciudad Juárez

in the annual report
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Mexico - Annual report 2006

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