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Reporter injured after reporting on allegations of irregularities in municipal administration

(CEPET/IFEX) - On 1 May 2009, Martín Velázquez González, a reporter for the monthly newspaper "Sin Fronteras", was injured with a machete in the municipality of Huimanguillo, Tabasco state, southeastern Mexico. The incident took place when Velázquez González was distributing copies of "Sin Fronteras" that reported on allegations of the misuse of public resources by Francisco Sánchez Ramos, a federal member of congress for the Democratic Revolution Party (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD).

At the time of the attack, Velázquez González had arrived in the neighbourhood of Pueblo Nuevo to distribute "Sin Fronteras", which is sold via megaphone announcements about the most important news story. According to Velázquez González, he was announcing the article about the PRD congress member on a dead end street when, at about 11:30 a.m. (local time), unidentified individuals got out of a van and attacked him.

"They broke the windshield. They had sticks, rocks and machetes. One of them hit me on the shoulder with a machete while the others smashed up the car. They said, 'You meddled with the boss and now you have to pay. This is so that you don't do it again.' There were about five of them," Velázquez González said. The reporter's vehicle was surrounded by people, which made it difficult to get away from his attackers. According to Velázquez González, the police failed to come to his assistance despite the level of commotion caused by the attack. He also said this was not the first time he has been assaulted.

After the attack, when Velázquez González was on his way to the "Sin Fronteras" offices located in Villahermosa, he realised he was being followed by the van that his assailants had been driving.

Luis Alberto Torres Lezcano, the editorial director for "Sin Fronteras", said that the media outlet covers complaints made by citizens. He added that the most recent edition of the newspaper reported on a complaint made by municipal workers, who said that municipal officials were providing social assistance to those willing to support Congressman Sánchez Ramos in an upcoming bid for the mayor's seat. Torres Lezcano also said that, after the attack on Velázquez González, unidentified individuals have gone to the area where "Sin Fronteras" employees park their cars and have taken photographs and asked questions about the reporter and the newspaper's director.

Velázquez González said that, on 4 May, lawyers for the newspaper filed two legal complaints against those behind the attack, one with the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office and another with authorities responsible for investigating injuries and damages that result from vandalism and violent robberies.

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