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Journalist assaulted and detained by police after trying to photograph official

(CEPET/IFEX) - The following is a 5 September 2007 statement from CEPET, an interim member of IFEX:

Journalist denounces being assaulted by police

Mexico, 5 September 2007 - Journalist Margarito Juárez, of the "Página 24" newspaper, has filed a complaint for assault suffered at the hands of five officers of the Fresnillo Municipal Police, in Zacatecas, northcentral Mexico.

Juárez says the incident occurred on 30 August when he attempted to photograph Commander Jorge Eduardo Muñoz Franco, director of Public Security. Juárez was at the offices of the Public Security Secretariat to gather information for an article on security matters.

"A group of people who had stolen a stereo were arrested. I wanted to interview one of the detainees and photograph the public security chief, but the police officers prevented me from doing so," the reporter told CEPET.

Juárez added that he got into a scuffle with the officers when they tried to seize his camera. "They threw me on the ground and kicked me, injuring my left forearm". The journalist was detained and held incommunicado for an hour and a half in one of the department's cells.

Juárez has filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Zacatecas Human Rights Commission.

According to the journalist, this is not the first time he has been harassed. On 15 March he was removed from the Public Security Secretariat for photographing a judge while he was reporting on the arrest of a minor.

Juárez has reported on irregularities in Mayor Rodolfo Monreal's administration and on an incident involving the death of three Fresnillo police officers. The journalist confirmed to CEPET that he feels that both incidents were retribution for his reports on the mayor's business dealings and undeclared property holdings.

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