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Nuevo León Congress increases maximum prison term for murderers of journalists

(CEPET/IFEX) - On 29 June 2009, the Nuevo León State Congress in northern Mexico passed an amendment to the local Criminal Code changing the maximum prison term of 25 years for murder to 35 years in cases involving the assassination of a journalist or a journalist's family members. The amendment only applies in cases where the murder is linked to the journalist's professional activities.

According to the points included in the announcement of the amendment, and taking into account the reasons presented to the previous legislature by the individuals behind the initiative, Members of Congress María de la Luz Estrada, Ivonne Liliana Álvarez García y Rogelio Alejandro Pérez Arrambide, the assassination of a journalist or individual who provides social commentary is the most violent form of action against free expression both in the individual and collective sense. The document went on to note that the assassination of a journalist is made even more serious by the self censorship effect it has on other media professionals and that "these effects are magnified when the state fails to carry out its duty of investigating and punishing those responsible for the crime, thus resulting in impunity."

The amendment will take effect the day after the publication of the decree in the Nuevo León Official Gazette, after the executive branch has received it from the Congress.

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