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REGIONS:

Website editor goes missing in northern state

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has voiced concern about the disappearance, since 8 October 2006, of Guevara Guevara Domínguez, the editor of the US-based weekly newspaper "Siglo 21"'s online version ( http://www.siglo21web.com ). He went missing in northern Mexico exactly three months after Rafael Ortiz Martínez of the local daily "Zócalo" disappeared on 8 July in Monclova, in the northern state of Coahuila (see IFEX alert of 11 July 2006).

"With two journalists missing and three others killed since the start of this year, the toll of press freedom violations is becoming more and more alarming," RSF said. "Let us not forget that two other journalists who disappeared in the past three years - Jesús Mejía Lechuga in 2003 and Alfredo Jiménez Mota in 2005 - were never found and none of the murders of journalists since 2000 has so far been solved" (for the Mejía Lechuga case, see alert of 11 August 2003; for the Jiménez Mota case, see alerts of 4 April 2006, 15 and 7 April 2005).

The press freedom organisation added: "We call on the new prosecutor's office that specialises in attacks on the press to take over this new case even if no link between Guevara's disappearance and his work as a journalist has yet been clearly established."

Although Guevara Domínguez, 54, edits the online version of "Siglo 21", a newspaper based in the Californian city of Oxnard that serves the Hispanic community in the United States, he lives in Guadalajara, in the western state of Jalisco. He set off from there by motorcycle on 7 October heading for Creel, in the northern state of Chihuahua, where he was to cover an international meeting of motorcyclists on 10 October.

He was last heard of on the morning of 8 October, when he phoned his girlfriend. His son, Miguel Guevara Valdez, told RSF his father called as he was about to leave the state of Durango and enter the state of Chihuahua. He said his father told him he was currently with a group of bikers, but was about to leave them in order to go his own way.

Later that day, "Siglo 21" called his family to say it had not received any of the reports he was supposed to send during his trip. An unidentified person called the family on 18 October to say he had been seen 30 kilometres from the border between the states of Durango and Chihuahua.

His family said he had not received any threats and did not cover subjects likely to expose him to any danger. A motor vehicle sports enthusiast, he was driving a Yamaha 750 cc motorcycle with the licence plate H757N.

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