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Defence Secretariat sanctions military personnel for assault on journalists

(CEPET/IFEX) - The National Defence Secretariat (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, SEDENA) has decided to punish a number of soldiers involved in a 5 June 2009 assault on journalists. The soldiers assaulted the journalists as they were covering an accident between a military vehicle and Ciudad Juárez municipal police vehicle, in Chihuahua state, northern Mexico.

According to a statement released by the Coordinating Office for the Chihuahua Joint Operative, five soldiers are completing 15 days under arrest for their actions. The Defence Secretariat also decided that a commanding officer should spend eight days under arrest for disobeying orders to "facilitate the work of journalists (. . .) and treat them respectfully."

During the incident in question, soldiers tried to hinder reporters, photographers and camera operators from covering the accident. In the process, "El Diario" photojournalist José Luis González was thrown to the ground and assaulted, and the soldiers seized "PM" newspaper photographer Ernesto Rodríguez's equipment.

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