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Journalist receives death threat following articles critical of governor of Veracruz state

(CEPET/IFEX) - The following is a 25 September 2007 statement from CEPET, an interim member of IFEX:

"Tribuna" editor receives death threats

Mexico, 25 September 2007 - Veracruz-based journalist Martín Serrano Herrera, editor of the newspaper "Tribuna", has requested protection for himself and his family from the Attorney General's Office. His request follows a recent death threat directed against him.

Serrano Herrera told CEPET that, on 28 August 2007, five 223 caliber bullets were left at the door to his house. This caliber of ammunition is used exclusively by the armed forces. The bullets were "wrapped in pages from an edition of the newspaper that carried an article about how (Veracruz state) Governor Fidel Herrera Beltrán represses critical media."

On 21 August, the newspaper published a story about how the World Journalists Network (Red Mundial de Periodistas) had issued a condemnatory statement on "the series of aggressions to which Mexican journalists have been subject, especially in the state of Veracruz".

The Attorney General's Office has opened an investigation into the case.

This is only the most recent in a series of similar threats and acts of intimidation directed against the journalist.

Serrano Herrera says the continuous intimidation and veiled threats to which he has been subject stem from the fact that he was "the first journalist to expose the ties between organised crime and the state government."

The journalist has filed various complaints over the years, "more than 23 of which are outstanding", for a series of apparently unconnected attacks on his property and person.

In 2001, Serrano Herrera took legal action against various individuals and former staff of the government of the time, headed by Miguel Alemán Velasco, for allegedly seizing material and equipment from "Tribuna".

"They went for the infrastructure of the newspaper and robbed me through legal chicanery", the journalist stated. These actions followed his publishing articles on drug-trafficking in Veracruz and the apparent complicity of certain government employees.

On 22 May 2007, Serrano Herrera filed a formal complaint with the special prosecutor for crimes committed by public servants (Fiscalía Especializada en Delitos Cometidos por Servidores Públicos) against Herrera Beltrán. Two days later, he discovered the brakes on his car had been disabled.

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