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Mexico2 April 2007

Call for action over vanished journalists two years after disappearance of reporter Alfredo Jiménez Mota

Reporters Without Borders today criticised Mexico’s federal and state authorities for failing to solve the cases of missing journalists two years to the day after the disappearance of reporter Alfredo Jiménez Mota, of the daily paper El Imparcial in the northwestern city of Hermosillo (Sonora state). He and four others have vanished during the past four years.

“Despite recent evidence by a witness in the Jiménez Mota case, federal authorities have not summoned Sonora state governor Eduardo Bours and his associates, who have been accused of involvement,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “Such lack of legal and political action probably explains why none of the five disappearances have been solved. All the journalists were reporting on organised crime or drug-trafficking.

“The chances of finding them alive is now virtually nil, but we urge Octavio Alberto Orellana Wiarco, the newly-appointed prosecutor of the special court dealing with attacks on journalists (Fiscalía Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos Contra Periodistas - FEADP) to resume investigations.”

Jiménez Mota, who covered drug-trafficking for the daily El Imparcial, disappeared on his way to meet a source on 2 April 2005. A police lieutenant last 17 January accused his superiors, a local prosecutor and Ricardo Bours, brother of the Sonora governor, of ordering the kidnapping and execution of the journalist, who had supposedly discovered their involvement in the illegal release from jail in 2004 of two traffickers after a drug seizure (press release of 23 January 2007). The case went before the National Human Rights Commission but no Sonora state official has given evidence since then.

Rodolfo Rincón Taracena, of the daily Tabasco Hoy in the southeastern state of Tabasco, also discovered new drug-trafficking centres in Villahermosa (press release of 26 January 2007) and has been missing since 20 January. A legal complaint has been filed with federal officials.

The three other journalists who have vanished, along with 22 journalists who have been murdered in Mexico since 2000, are Jesús Mejía Lechuga, of Radio MS-Noticias (since 10 July 2003) in the southeastern state of Veracruz, Rafael Ortiz Martínez, of the daily Zócalo and the radio station XHCCG 104.1 FM, apparently kidnapped by drug-traffickers on 8 July 2006 in the northern state of Coahuila, and José Antonio García Apac, editor of the regional weekly Ecos de la Cuenca, in the southwestern state of Michoacán, who has not been seen since 20 November 2006.

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