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Mexico7 August 2003

Radio journalist missing for nearly one month

Reporters Without Borders today voiced deep concern about the fate of journalist Jesus Mejía Lechuga of Radio MS-Noticias in Martínez de la Torre (in the southeastern state of Veracruz), who has been missing for almost one month.

In a letter to Vera Cruz state governor Miguel Alemán Velázco, the organisation’s secretary-general Robert Ménard called for a thorough investigation to locate the journalist and determine the causes of his disappearance, and asked to be kept informed of progress in the enquiry.

Mejía was last seen on 12 July when he interviewed Alfonso Alegretti, a representative of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the local municipal government.

In his programmes "A Primera Hora" and "Voz y Palabra," Mejía had accused Guillermo Zorilla Pérez, a PRI representative in the federal parliament, of being linked to local drug traffickers. MS-Noticias said three of its reporters have been physically attacked in recent months, one of them by a group of Zorilla supporters.

Veracruz state prosecutor Pericles Namorado Urrutia maintains that Mejía is on the run because he is a suspect in the theft of a car. It turned out that a car he had been lent was a stolen one. But his wife Magdalena Maza Mendoza insists that it is inconceivable that he chose to disappear. A local journalist said if Mejía had gone into hiding, the police would have found him by now and, anyway, his family would not have reporting him missing on 13 July.

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