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Newspaper vendor detained, accused of defaming mayoral candidate

(CEPET/IFEX) - Newspaper vendor Telésforo Paz Luna was detained by the Morelos state police for selling copies of the "Boletinformativo" paper. The paper's edition contained information that was detrimental to the image of a member of Mexico's Green Party (Partido Verde Ecologista de México, PVEM), who is running for mayor in Zacualpan, Amilpas, Morelos, central Mexico.

According to Narciso Mejía Méndez, director of "Boletinformativo", on 12 May 2009, Paz Luna went to the Zacualpan municipality to sell the paper. In a loud voice, he announced that PVEM's mayoral candidate, Ángel García, is believed to have distributed 4,000 pesos (approx. US$300) to members of the audience during a local festival. In return, the people he paid off booed the other mayoral candidates.

Paz Luna was walking towards the city hall, at around 10:00 a.m. (local time), when municipal police officers intercepted him and took him to the station, said Mejía Méndez.

Trustee Gastón Barreto Vidal was reportedly responsible for Paz Luna's detention. The newspaper vendor was kept incommunicado for about four hours until the trustee finally ordered his release after being pressured to do so by some of the local residents.

A few hours later, at around 10:00 p.m., Paz Luna was heading to the "Boletinformativo" offices, about eight kilometers from Zacualpan, when he was again intercepted, this time by García's brother and some state police. The newspaper vendor was accused of having defamed the PVEM candidate. He was taken to the Public Prosecutor's Office, in Cuautla, where he was kept overnight. He finally submitted a statement at 6:00 p.m. the next day, and was expected to be released after paying a fine of 5,000 pesos.

Mejía Méndez has filed a complaint denouncing the vendor's unlawful detention.

Jesús Colón Tablas, of "El Sol de Cuautla", confirmed that "Boletinformativo" is an independent publication with no political affiliations.

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