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Three photojournalists found dead in Veracruz

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Mexico City, May 3, 2012 - The bodies of three photojournalists, Guillermo Luna, Gabriel Huge and Esteban Rodríguez, were found on 3 May 2012 in a sewage canal in the municipality of Boca del Rio, Veracruz. Hours before the discovery, the families of Guillermo Luna and Gabriel Huge reported them as missing. These crimes took place a week after the murder of Regina Martínez, a journalist for Proceso magazine, also in Veracruz.

According to information confirmed by the local authorities, the bodies were found by the Naval Police in a sewage canal known as La Zamorana, near the Las Vegas II housing unit, with a fourth body, identified as Luna's partner. The three photojournalists had worked for years covering police issues. Huge and Luna worked for the newspaper Notiver with Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco and his son Misael Lopez Solana, who were murdered on June 20, 2011. Esteban Rodríguez worked for the newspaper AZ. The three photojournalists were forced to flee their homes last year because of the threats they received.

The fact that they had fleed was reported by ARTICLE 19 in a document submitted to Mexican government officials at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on October 27, 2011. Neither the representatives of the Sub-Secretary of Legal and Human Rights Affairs of the Secretary of the Interior, nor the authorities of the state of Veracruz took the necessary measures to ensure the safety of these journalists.

These murders occurred less than a week after the public commitment from the governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, to ensure proper investigation into the murder of Martínez. The number of journalists who have now been murdered during his administration has increased to eight.

ARTICLE 19 reaffirms its position: the Mexican authorities have consistently failed to fulfill their international obligations to guarantee the free exercise of freedom of expression and the mechanisms currently in place do not address the central problem, which is the impunity that follows these crimes.

Once more, ARTICLE 19 expresses its solidarity with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased and calls upon the Mexican authorities and especially the Attorney General of Veracruz, to work to bring those responsible to justice to prevent this becoming another emblematic case of impunity.

MORE INFORMATION:

Six journalists killed worldwide since the start of May (IPI, 9 May 2012)

Mourning for and condemnation of new deaths in Mexico (IAPA, 3 May 2012)

World's press outraged by latest journalist killings (WAN-IFRA, 4 May 2012)

Two photographers slain in Veracruz state, five days after magazine reporter's murder (RSF, 4 May 2012)

Mexican photographers murdered in Veracruz (CPJ, 4 May 2012)

On World Press Freedom Day, bodies of three journalists found (IPI, 4 May 2012)

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