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Attackers apprehended in Radio Calenda case

(AMARC/IFEX) - On 14 November 2008, several of the individuals involved in an attack on members of Radio Calenda, a community radio station in Oaxaca, were apprehended. In 2006, the station's members were assaulted by local authorities, as is documented in the report "Freedom of the Press in Mexico: the shadow of impunity and violence" ("Libertad de Prensa en México: la sombra de la impunidad y la violencia"), written by the International Mission for the Documentation of Attacks on Journalists and the Media. The report stated that:

"The Radio Calenda case is a clear example of the impunity that community radio stations face when they are the target of an attack. Radio Calenda is located in the San Antonino Castillo de Velasco municipality and because of the coverage it gave to the process by which the municipal president was removed from office, several of its contributors were severely beaten and assaulted with fire arms. One of the victims was detained arbitrarily by a group affiliated with the local authorities. Even though the station has presented various pieces of evidence to the authorities - including a videotape of the attack - they have not succeeded in bringing those responsible to justice."

AMARC's Mexico chapter considers the arrests of the perpetrators to be an act of justice. They are the consequence of legal action brought against the local authorities for the crimes of torture, privation of freedom and attempted murder committed against Radio Calenda personnel. Unfortunately, an exception to the arrest warrants was made in the case of the former municipal president, who was responsible for the attack. He remains unpunished and has not assumed any responsibility for the incident.

Although the apprehension of the perpetrators forms part of the judicial process and reparation for the victims, AMARC-Mexico expresses it concern that there may be retaliations against Radio Calenda and its members because of the arrests. As such, AMARC-Mexico demands that the Oaxaca state authorities - the Human Rights Undersecretary (Subsecretaría de Derechos Humanos), the Public Prosecutor's Office (Procuraduría de Justicia) and the State Commission on Human Rights (Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos) - implement the necessary measures to guarantee the safety of Radio Calenda's members. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has called for precautionary measures to be implemented in the Radio Calenda case, and, as such, the Mexican state, including San Antonino Castillo de Velasco municipal authorities and the municipal president, are obliged to protect community based journalists.

Updates the Radio Calenda case:

For further information on the harassment of Radio Calenda by the former municipal president, see:

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