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Journalist assaulted by police, briefly detained for covering eviction action in Veracruz

(CEPET/IFEX) - On 18 May 2008, "Milenio Diario" newspaper reporter Víctor Manuel Báez Chino filed a complaint with the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes, charged with handling complaints concerning journalists mistreated while fulfilling the duties of their profession - against two security officials, Arturo Paredes Guevara of the Veracruz-Boca del Río inter-municipal police, and Remigio Ortiz Olivares, head of the "B" sub-section of Public Security.

The journalist's complaint pertained to abuse he suffered when attempting to cover the 16 May eviction of transport workers from the port of Veracruz. He alleged the officials named in his complaint, as well as the direct perpetrators of his abuse, were guilty of abusing their authority, theft, damages and illegally depriving him of his liberty.

Báez Chino claims that, as he was trying to cover the eviction, he heard someone yell, "This one . . . is taking photos," and was then jumped upon by four uniformed individuals who beat him and detained him, despite his identifying himself as an on-duty journalist.

Báez Chino was then taken to a police cell where he again identified himself as a journalist; despite that, his cell phone, which he was using to take photographs and tape the eviction, was confiscated and his claims to be a journalist were again ignored. He was held for over an hour without being informed of the reasons. He was eventually released thanks to the insistent pleas of his colleagues, who went to the police station to protest his arrest.

Although his cell phone was returned to him, the photographs and video footage he had taken were all erased.

The authorities are presently seeking to identify the direct perpetrators of the journalist's beating and arrest.

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