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Previously-threatened director of weekly survives shooting attack in Veracruz

(CENCOS/IFEX) - On 30 May 2008, at approximately 10:00 p.m. (local time), an unknown assailant fired shots at Aristeo Abundis Hernández, director of the weekly "Semanario Frente y Vuelta" and correspondent for the "Diario de Tantoyuca" newspaper. The incident occurred in Pánuco municipality, Veracruz, in the eastern part of the country, near the Gulf of Mexico.

In a telephone call with CENCOS, Abundis said that he was driving home when an unidentified vehicle with no licence plates approached him. An individual fired two shots in his direction. One bullet hit his back tire and another struck the car's rear door.

Abundis fled from the scene, heading towards his home. There, the presence of a police officer frightened off the attackers and they sped off.

Abundis has been targetted previously and for two months a security guard has been watching his home during the night. On one occasion, he was beaten by four hooded individuals and another time he was threatened with a gun. The journalist believes these attacks are related to his work.

Following the 30 May shooting, Abundis registered a complaint with the Veracruz State Public Prosecutor's Office. This is the second time he has filed a complaint over an attack on his person.

A similar incident took place in Pánuco municipality in January, when journalist Octavio Soto was assaulted by unknown individuals. Soto told CENCOS that his case is currently before the Pánuco Public Ministry and the Sub-Prosecutor's Office for Northern Veracruz. The officials registered his case and took down all the necessary information. However, an investigation has not been carried out.

CENCOS calls on the municipal president for Pánuco, Ricardo García Guzmán, and on the governor of Veracruz-Llave state, Fidel Herrera Beltran, to pay special attention to these two cases. CENCOS also calls for measures to be taken to address the hostile climate within which journalists are working and to ensure that the right to freedom of expression and society's right to access information are upheld.

For further information on prior threats against Abundis and the attack on Soto, see:

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