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Reporter seeks asylum in US after receiving death threats

(CEPET/IFEX) - Ricardo Chávez Aldana, a reporter for the Radio Cañón radio station in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, northern Mexico, is seeking asylum in the United Status after receiving death threats from individuals presumed to be members of an organised crime group.

According to information published in several national newspapers, before fleeing with his family to El Paso, Texas, the journalist reported on the 9 December 2009 assassination of two of his nephews and two of their friends. On the radio station's evening news programme, the journalist demanded justice and the arrest of the individuals responsible for the assassination, saying that the killers walk freely on the streets of Ciudad Juárez "as if they are protected by the police and military personnel." On the same night that he reported on the killing, Chávez Aldana received a call on his mobile phone in which the callers warned him that "for being a talker" he would be the next one to be assassinated.

The reporter said that he did not take the threat seriously at first, but that the next day he received another telephone call threatening both him and his wife and son. As such, he decided to cross over to the United States with his family and request asylum. "Before crossing, I knew we would be arrested by the immigration authorities, but it's preferable to be locked up versus dead," Chávez Aldana said.

Chávez Aldana is the fourth Mexican journalist in the last two years to request asylum in another country after receiving death threats. Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, a correspondent for "El Diario" in Ciudad Juárez, crossed the border into the United Status along with his son in June 2008. Horacio Nájera, a correspondent for the daily "Reforma" sought refuge in Canada in October 2008 and Jorge Luis Aguirre, the editor of the "La Polaca" online newspaper, crossed into the United States in November 2008. Aguirre was threatened as he was on his way to a wake being held for murdered journalist Armando Rodríguez.
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