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Mexico27 May 2009

Crime reporter abducted and killed in Durango state

Reporters Without Borders is dismayed by the murder of Eliseo Barrón Hernández, 36, a crime reporter for the daily Milenio Torreón and several regional media, whose body was found in an irrigation ditch in the northern state of Durango yesterday, a day after he was kidnapped from his home.

“We offer our condolences to Barrón’s family and colleagues,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the authorities to assign enough resources to the investigation so that those responsible for this murder can be quickly identified. Durango is major drug trafficking centre and the high level of violent crime is endangering press freedom. The motive has yet to be established and the investigators should not neglect the possibility that it was linked to Barrón’s work as he covered very sensitive subjects.”

Relatives said eight masked gunmen burst into the family home in the town of Gómez Palacio on the evening of 25 May, beat Barrón in front of his wife and two daughters, aged 1 and 3, and then drove away with him. His body was found the next day with bullet wounds and the marks of torture.

Barrón had recently written a series of articles about the dismissal of 300 local police officers for corruption. He regularly covered drug trafficking, which entailed significant risks.

He was the second journalist to be killed in Durango in less than a month. Carlos Ortega Melo Samper, a reporter with the Tiempo de Durango daily newspaper, was murdered in Santa María del Oro on 3 May.

Barrón’s death brings the number of journalists murdered in Mexico since 2000 to 49. Three have been murdered since the start of the year.

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