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Another reporter assassinated in Durango despite authorities' knowledge of threats against him

(CEPET/IFEX) - José Bladimir Antuna García, a reporter for "El Tiempo" newspaper, was found dead on the evening of 2 November 2009, approximately 12 hours after he was kidnapped by armed men in the city of Durango, capital of the state of Durango, in northern Mexico.

According to initial reports, the journalist's body was found behind the Mexican Social Security Institute's building. He had been shot twice and a note was found on his body that said, "This happened to me because I gave information to the military and wrote things that I should not have written. Be careful when preparing stories. Sincerely, Bladimir." Antuna had previously received death threats and his house was shot at in April.

According to reports, at about 10:00 a.m. a group of armed men in two vehicles stopped the journalist as he was driving near the general hospital in the Los Ángeles neighbourhood. The men pulled the journalist out of his vehicle and took him with them. At 8:16 p.m. the state police received a report that Antuna's body had been found.

A few days after the assassination of journalist Eliseo Barrón in May, Antuna reported that he and Barrón had exchanged information about police corruption and organised crime groups in the region. At that time, Antuna said that he had been receiving threatening telephone calls for the previous seven months, both on his mobile phone and at the "El Tiempo" office, warning him about "delicate" information that he was publishing. On several occasions the caller identified himself as a member of Los Zetas, a crime group linked to the Gulf drug cartel. Antuna said that one of the telephone calls he received originated from the Gómez Palacio penitentiary in Durango.

On 1 October, the journalist reported that a summons had been received at the "El Tiempo" office, calling for him to provide a statement to the Durango branch of the National Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR), headed by Saúl Baltazar García, on 6 October. Since there were no reasons given for the summons, "El Tiempo" published an article about it in an effort to protect the journalist.

When he appeared as requested at the PGR offices, Baltazar told Antuna that he had been summoned so that they could verify information that the reporter had given to CEPET in an alert issued by the organisation on 28 May ( http://libex.cepet.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=583:amenazan-de-muerte-a-mas-periodistas-tras-asesinato-de-reportero&catid=36:alertas&Itemid=55 ). Baltazar told Antuna that the PGR would be opening a formal investigation into his case.

According to information provided to CEPET by Antuna's colleagues, the reporter arrived at work on 1 November as usual and did not leave the newspaper's offices until approximately 9:30 p.m.
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