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AUTHOR AND DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER MURDERED

Anthropologist, author and filmmaker Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez Ávila was apparently beaten to death in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero on 26 July 2008. The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC) says his murder may be related to his documentation of attacks against an indigenous community radio station.

Gutiérrez, also a linguist and advocate for the indigenous Amuzgo people of Guerrero, was killed while driving to the state capital, Chilpancingo de los Bravo. Initial police reports suggested he died in a car accident, but family members say his vehicle was untouched and only his film equipment was stolen.

A few days before his death, Gutiérrez had visited Costa Chica in Guerrero while making a documentary film. He had researched the indigenous people of southern Guerrero for more than 20 years, helped establish the first Amuzgo community library, and was involved in the community radio station Radio Ñomndaa (La Palabra del Agua/Word of the Water).

Local press reports pointed to a local political boss (cacique) opposed to Radio Ñomndaa and indigenous movements, the WiPC said. Another lead said Gutiérrez had filmed members of the Federal Investigations Agency (AFI) on a raid of the radio station.

The WiPC called on state and federal authorities to carry out a full and impartial investigation into the murder, and urges others to join the appeal.

Visit these links:
- PEN: http://tinyurl.com/6fzcbg
- Community radio under fire: http://tinyurl.com/6c8nn6
(27 August 2008)

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