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Journalist Andrés Guardiola García-Gómez harassed by local officials in León

(CEPET/IFEX) - Andrés Guardiola García-Gómez, a correspondent for the "Excélsior" newspaper, reported that he has been repeatedly harassed by officials who work for the municipal government in León, Guanajuanto state, in southern Mexico. In the newspaper, which has a national reach, Guardiola García has published information on issues relating to the local government administration, headed by mayor Vicente Guerrero Reynoso, who belongs to the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN). The reports on Guerrero Reynoso's administration included a June 2008 scandal when it was revealed that security force personnel in León were given classes on torture techniques. Another story reported on orders given to demolish a school in order to enlarge a church.

"A few days after the discovery of the so-called 'Little school of horrors', I noticed that municipal police officers were following me and taking photos. This happened on various occasions until one day I turned around to face them, but they left", said Guardiola García.

Recently, the mayor of León once again created a controversy when he revealed that he was going to build a washroom, attached to his office, which would cost approximately 400 thousand pesos (approx. US$30,000).

On 3 April 2009, several members of the media arrived in hopes of seeing the costly new washroom, but the head of social communications for León, José Luis Reynoso Candelas, refused to grant access to many of the reporters, including Guardiola García.

"My friend from 'La Jornada' politely asked why we were not allowed to enter, but all we got in response were insults. He said we were useless and opportunistic. I told him to calm down and he shook his fist at me, as if he was going to hit me, but other social communications department employees stopped him," said Guardiola García.

Both journalists filed a complaint against Reynoso Candelas with the state's Human Rights Prosecutor's Office (Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos, PDH) on the grounds that he had violated their right to freedom of expression and had intimidated them.

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