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Charges against Veracruz journalist to be dropped; federal police's abuses of him and colleague to be investigated

(CEPET/IFEX) - The federal Public Security Secretariat (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública, SSP) has announced in a press release that it would drop the charges filed against photojournalist Gabriel Huge Córdoba. The journalist, who works for the "Notiver" newspaper, distributed in the port city of Veracruz, capital of the state of the same name on the Gulf of Mexico, had been accused of "abusing authorities".

On 24 February, the photojournalist was reporting on an accident involving federal police officers that had resulted in the death of one of them. Huge Córdoba and other reporters were insulted and told to leave the scene of the accident. When one of the policemen recognised Huge Córdoba as having covered prior police operations, the reporter was handcuffed and put into a police vehicle.

He was held for four hours and then brought before the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público) and charged with "abusing authorities".

On 27 February, "Notiver" reported that on 26 February police officers connected to the "México Seguro" ("Safe Mexico") operation went to the newspaper's offices and apologised to Huge Córdoba and reporter Miguel Ángel López Solana, who had also covered the accident. The police officers also reiterated their respect for the work journalists do.

The "México Seguro" operations are being carried out in Veracruz and other states to combat drug trafficking. Organised crime has increased in Veracruz state, leading to an increase in violence and kidnappings.

Huge Córdoba had filed a complaint against the federal police officers and the Public Ministry.

According to the SSP press release, both the photojournalist and the federal police have agreed to drop the charges. However, the Secretariat did stress that there will be an investigation into the conduct of the officers involved in the incident and that those found to have committed an offence will face sanctions.

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