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Journalists from cultural publication accosted, one of them brutally beaten by police officers in Cuernavaca

(CENCOS/IFEX) - The following is a 1 November 2007 CENCOS press release:

Police officers accost two "El Perro Azul" journalists in Cuernavaca, Morelos

Mexico D.F., 1 November 2007 - During the weekend of 27-28 October 2007, journalists Óscar López and Ariel Ramírez Arrieta, of the cultural publication "El Perro Azul", were abusively treated by members of the state Preventive Police in Cuernavaca, Morelos. López was detained and brutally beaten.

A complaint has been filed with the Cuernavaca Office of the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público) accusing the police officers of abuse of authority, illegal detention and assault. CENCOS tried to contact the two journalists to verify the information but was unable to contact them. CENCOS notes that "there is self-censorship by the media outlets and reporters being attacked in the city of Cuernavaca.

"La Jornada de Morelos" newspaper reported on the incident in its 29 October 2007 edition. López noted that police officers sometimes plant falsified evidence on alleged suspects in an attempt to mask human rights violations.

According to "La Jornada de Morelos", López was beaten and suffered injuries to his ribs, arms, legs, back and hands which are making it difficult for him to breath and move. The newspaper also mentioned that the police officers insulted López and mocked him for being a journalist during the beating.

There were three witnesses - María Arrieta Sotelo, Rocío Ramírez and Javier Emanuel Nocelo Ramírez - who testified that López was assaulted and then taken away by the police.

Ariel Ramírez, however, was not taken to the local branch of the Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General). Ramírez said that he managed to open the door to his workplace when two officers grabbed him, ripping his clothing and grabbing his mobile phone. "I think they intended to rob us; had my mother not come out to the street I think they would have taken my money and other valuables. They abuse their authority and intimidate citizens by hitting them and robbing them," Ramírez said.

The Morelos Independent Human Rights Commission (Comisión Independiente de Derechos Humanos de Morelos) has denounced the incident and has called on the Cuernavaca Municipality and the Public Prosecutor's Office to launch an investigation and ensure that journalists are able to carry out their work.

CENCOS notes that journalists are increasingly censoring themselves, and scared to discuss attacks against them.

CENCOS condemns the intimidation and harassment the journalists suffered solely for doing their jobs. The organization calls on the state authorities, the Cuernavaca Municipality, the Public Prosecutor's Office, Governor Marco Adame Castillo and President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.

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