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Journalist in Morelos abducted, beaten and threatened with murder

(CENCOS/IFEX) - The following is a 20 August 2007 joint press release by CENCOS and the Independent Commission on Human Rights of Morelos:

Journalist Eolo Pacheco, director of "El Regional del Sur" newspaper and host of a radio news programme, attacked in Morelos

México D.F., 20 August 2007 - The Independent Commission on Human Rights of Morelos and CENCOS strongly condemn the attack on journalist Eolo Pacheco, director of "El Regional del Sur" newspaper, perpetrated on 15 August 2007. At 3:00 p.m. (local time), when he left MVS radio station after hosting his news programme there, he was stopped by a group of individuals who tied him up with his own jacket, pushed him into a vehicle, and took him, driving in a reckless manner, to a place in Santa Catarina, an outlying neighbourhood of the nearby illage of Tepoztlán, where he was brutally beaten and threatened with murder. He overheard his abductors saying that he had been singled out. Morelos is a state in central Mexico, just south of Mexico City, the national capital.

When Pacheco filed a complaint about the incident with the Office of the Attorney General (Procuraduría General de Justicia), he indicated that, although the assailants tried to make the attack look like a robbery, it was in fact related to his work since they had continued beating and threatening him the entire time they held him captive.

This incident has occurred amid a series of threats, acts of intimidation and pressure brought to bear on journalists in Morelos state, some of whom have been dismissed from their media outlets, for having critical stances regarding government policies that they consider harmful to the public.

As is a matter of public knowledge, in our country journalists are in ever-increasing danger for carrying out their work, and Mexico has now become one of the most dangerous places in the world for media workers. The government has yet to take any effective measures to ensure journalists' safety and guarantee that they can carry out their work of keeping the public informed.

Therefore, we support the protests expressed by journalists through various media outlets in Morelos; we have appended two of them to this statement. (See the "El Regional del Sur" newpaper editorial and the "La Jornada" newspaper article on the Pacheco case, in Spanish: http://cencos.org/es/node/16756 )

CENCOS condemns the acts of intimidation, threats, harassment and abductions to which journalists are being subjected for exercising their right to keep the public informed. We urge President Felipe Calderón and Morelos state authorities, especially Governor Marco Adame Castillo, to ensure that those responsible for the attack on Pacheco are punished.

(Signed,)

Independent Commission on Human Rights of Morelos (Comisión Independiente de Derechos Humanos de Morelos, A.C.)
National Center for Social Communication (Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social, CENCOS)

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