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Mexico15 November 2007

Witness retracts, testifies in court that defendant did not shoot journalist

Salvador Cabrera, one of the five witnesses of the 6 April fatal shooting of Televisa correspondent Amado Ramírez in Acapulco, in the southern state of Guerrero, told an Acapulco court yesterday that the accused killer, Genaro Vázquez Durán, was not the person who shot him.

According to the Acapulco-based daily El Sur, when a court official led six men, including the defendant, into the courtroom, Cabrera said none of them was the killer and that the person he saw running away from the murder scene was a bit taller and thinner, and had a shaven head.

Cabrera was questioned twice, on 7 and 18 April, by prosecutor Gustavo Vázquez Muñoz. On the second occasion, he refused to sign a statement, saying the prosecutor had encouraged him to identify Vázquez Duran as the killer. He later told Televisa the prosecutor could have manipulated his testimony.

The prosecutor yesterday asked the judge to pay no heed to this retraction, claiming that the witness was “trying to render a service to the defendant” by giving “baseless” evidence.


10.04.07 - Murdered journalist’s radio programme taken off the air

The news programme “Al tanto” that had been presented by journalist Amado Ramírez on Radiorama Acapulco before he was murdered on 6 April was taken off the air yesterday after the station received threats.

Ramírez, who was also correspondent for the Acapulco TV station Televisa, was killed during a wave of reprisals by drug-traffickers. The day after his murder, the Radiorama Acapulco security guard got an anonymous phone call warning that “we haven’t finished yet” and saying that Misael Habana, the co-presenter of “Al tanto,” would be the next target. Habana said Ramírez had received telephoned death threats a month ago.


07.04.07 - TV correspondent gunned down in Acapulco amid wave of killings

Reporters Without Borders today called for the federal authorities to be fully involved in the investigation into yesterday’s murder of Amado Ramírez, the correspondent of the privately-owned TV station Televisa, in Acapulco, in the southern state of Guerrero, in a wave of killings that has left 14 dead in the past 24 hours.

“Ramírez’s death must be taken seriously by the authorities,” the press freedom organisation said. “Given the scale of the violence that has affected three states, there must be a major effort to establish the circumstances of this journalist’s execution-style killing and to identify those responsible. And the case must be handled at the federal level.”

Ramírez was shot three times by a gunman who had followed him as he left his work place in downtown Acapulco, Televisa said. The authorities blamed drug traffickers for three other murders yesterday in Guerrero state. A total of ten other people were murdered in the northwestern state of Sinaloa and the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

The federal prosecutor’s office meanwhile reported that a total of 384 people suspected of involvement in drug trafficking have been murdered in Mexico since 15 March.



In this country
27 May - Mexico
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
Mexico - Annual Report 2008
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No surrender by independent journalists, five years on from “black spring”
5 June 2007 - Venezuela
Closure of Radio Caracas Televisión consolidates media hegemony
22 May 2007 - Colombia
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Open letter to President Hugo Chavez to protest about official hounding of Globovisión
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Journalist gets three-year jail sentence
15 May - Colombia
Former intelligence officials leak list of news media and journalists whose phones were tapped

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