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Freelance reporter threatened by peasant leader in Morelos

(CEPET/IFEX) - Andoni Mújica Murias, a freelance reporter in the central Mexican state of Morelos, reports that Jesús Escamilla Casarrubias, a leader of a peasant organisation affiliated with the leftist Social Democrat Alternative Party (Partido Alternativa Social Demócrata) threatened to kill him.

The incident took place on 15 March 2008 after a meeting between leaders of the party where Mújica Murias photographed Escamilla Casarrubias when the latter was allegedly distributing money to the participants in the event, in payment for their attendance.

Mújica Murias told CEPET that he works as a free lance photographer for "La Jornada Morelos" newspaper and as host for a Universal FM radio station programme, and that on a previous occasion he had taken photographs of Escamilla Casarrubias distributing money, without any confrontation having occurred.

Escamilla Casarrubias is a leader of the Coalition of Democratic Urban and Peasant Organisations (Coalición de Organizaciones Democráticas Urbanas y Campesinas, CODUC).

Mújica Murias said that when he witnessed the distribution of money, someone warned Escamilla Casarrubias that the reporter was present. Escamilla Casarrubias responded, "What's the problem, so what if he sees it?" and then turned in the direction of the reporter, and shouted, "You want money too; how much do you want?", shaking a sheaf of bills in the air.

When the reporter ignored the comment, the peasant leader approached him up close, and directly confronted him, saying, "look, fair-haired little boy, even if you're a guy, I'll shoot you dead . . ."

Mújica Murias has filed formal complaints about the incident with the Morelos Procurator's Office (Procuraduría de Justicia) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Journalists (Fiscalía Especializada contra Agresiones a Periodistas), which is under the authority of the National Procurator's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR).

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