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Reporter assaulted, threatened after publishing information about irregularities at public school

(CEPET/IFEX) - Arturo Alfaro Galán, a reporter for the "La Jornada de Oriente" newspaper, has said he was assaulted and threatened by the son of the director of a public school in Puebla, in central-eastern Mexico.

Alfaro Galán has been covering a story about complaints that parents have made against Raúl Ramírez Enríquez, the director of the "Héroes de la Reforma" secondary school. The parents have accused Ramírez Enríquez of diverting funds and abuse of power as he has, according to the journalist, expelled several students without justification. The complaints led the Public Education Secretariat (SEP) to freeze a bank account that holds contributions given by parents.

On 14 September 2009, the parents who have taken issue with Ramírez Enríquez filed a new complaint, this time against the director's son, Alejandro Ramírez Cruz. "La Jornada de Oriente" covered the story the following day.

On 17 September, Ramírez Cruz led a demonstration that included teachers and parents in front of the Education Development Regional Coordination's (CORDE) #6 building. The demonstrators were demanding that the school bank account be made accessible once again.

At about 10:00 a.m., Alfaro Galán arrived to cover the demonstration. While he was taking photographs and interviewing the protesters, Ramírez Cruz approached and began hitting and hurling insults at him, while complaining about the information that had been published.

"He hit me on the back and head and kicked me a few times. He said that I was a liar and called me a dog (. . .). He dragged me for several metres and threw me out of the building. Then he told me that I was going to regret what I had published, that he would be hunting me down," Alfaro Galán said.

The reporter filed a complaint for threats and injury with the state Attorney General's Office. He said, "I am worried about the threats more than the physical assault."

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