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Journalist's home fired upon in Manzanillo following articles critical of public officials

(CENCOS/IFEX) - On 21 March 2008, the house of journalist Javier Montes Camarena came under gunfire. At 4:45 a.m. (local time), two unidentified individuals fired a 9 mm Luger handgun seven times at the façade of his house and at his car. Two bullets lodged in the front wall of the house, one penetrated into a room, and four hit his car.

Montes Camarena lives in the city of Manzanillo in Colima state, on the Pacific coast of the country. A journalist for 30 years and he is the author of a regular column in the newspaper "Diario de Colima", which has state-wide circulation.

Speaking to CENCOS, the journalist attributed the attack to state officials whom he has criticized harshly in his writings.

Among those the author considers suspect is the state governor, Silverio Cavazos Ceballos. The journalist thinks Cavazos Ceballos might be reacting to a 20 March column entitled "Sinners and Saints" in which he compared the governor with Judas Iscariot, asserting: "He too is a traitor in the biblical sense of the word."

Other possible figures behind the attack, according to the journalist, are: Martín Flores Castañeda, the general secretary of the state-level Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, PRI); Fernando Morán, leader of a coastal organisation of PRI militants (Organización de militantes del Partido Revolucionario Institucional); and Fernando Alvarez Luján, regional communications coordinator for the state government in the municipalities of Tecomán, Armería, Minatitlán and Manzanillo.

Camarena has filed a complaint with the state authorities but doubts there will be a proper investigation, being that he is implicating the head of the state government.

CENCOS condemns this attack upon Camarena, which endangered not only the journalist but other members of his family. CENCOS demands that freedom of expression be respected, and calls upon the authorities to investigate the case rigorously and to the journalist so that he can continue to work.

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