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Journalist threatened by police officer implicated in assassination

(CEPET/IFEX) - 21 September 2009 - Abraham Ramírez Reyes, a reporter for "El Sol" in Hidalgo, said he fears for his life after having received death threats on more than one occasion from a police officer. The latest threat was reportedly received minutes before the policeman assassinated another man in Pachuca, Hidalgo, central/eastern Mexico.

According to Ramírez, who covers the police beat, on 27 August 2009 he went to the Tolcayuca municipality, near the México-Pachuca highway, to report on an assault on a passenger bus. While he was taking photographs of the incident, the then chief of the State Security's Anti-Kidnapping Group (Grupo Antisecuestros de la Coordinación de Seguridad Estatal), Aarón Hernández Andrade, approached him and tried to stop him from doing his work. The policeman reportedly threatened to hit the reporter and told him to leave the area. Ramírez had almost finished his work so he took some photographs of Hernández and withdrew.

On 10 September, the reporter was at a restaurant south of Hidalgo with a colleague when he again run into Hernández who was with the deputy chief of the State Security Department. Ramírez, who knew Hernández's boss from his work, decided to tell him that he had been threatened by the police officer. While Hernández agreed to "smooth things over" in front of his superior, he later spoke to the journalist once more and threatened to kill him.

Feeling threatened, Ramírez left the restaurant at around 5:30 p.m, after asking the restaurant's owner to accompany him to where his car was parked.

A few days later, accusations emerged, suggesting that that same night, a few meters from the restaurant, Hernández had murdered the kinesiologist of the Pachuca soccer club, Ramón Estrella Salazar. The former police officer is currently at large.

According to Ramírez, the deceased wore the same color clothes as he did. He fears that the murder was a case of mistaken identity and that Hernández was really after him. The reporter has filed a complaint against the former police officer with the Hidalgo State Prosecutor's Office. He also approached the National Human Rights Commission to ask for protection.

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