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Newspaper photographer beaten as police look on for covering traffic accident

(CEPET/IFEX) - The following is a statement from CEPET, an interim member of IFEX:

Police stand by as photographer assaulted

A photojournalist with Culiacán-based "El Debate" newspaper, in Sinaloa state, was assaulted by various youths as he attempted to cover the scene of a traffic accident. The assault took place in front of police officers who made no attempt to intervene.

On 15 July 2007, the photojournalist and a colleague arrived at the scene of an accident that had apparently been caused by youths from wealthy families involved in street-racing.

After taking some photos, the photojournalist was "set upon by various youths who demanded he erase the images from his camera, and who began to beat him; some immobilizing him while others punched him", reported "El Debate" on 16 July, without naming the journalist.

Witnesses said municipal and state police officers were present, as were municipal transit employees. The municipal transit manager told local media that in their accident report its employees had noted the assault, claiming to have come to the photographer's assistance; the police bodies did not report the assault.

The Sinaloa state human rights commission (Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos de Sinaloa) has initiated an investigation into the incident.

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