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Impunity surrounds case of journalist Armando Rodríguez one year after his murder

(CEPET/IFEX) - Mexico, 13 November 2009 - One year after the murder of journalist Armando Rodríguez Carreón, a reporter for the "El Diario" newspaper, the individuals involved in the crime have not been identified and two prosecutors in charge of investigating the case have been assassinated. "El Diario" is based in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state.

On 13 November 2008, Rodríguez, who had ten years of experience covering the police beat in Ciudad Juárez, was inside his car with his eight-year-old daughter when he was shot ten times.

On the day of the murder, the National Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) issued a communiqué saying that the case would fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists (Fiscalía Especial para Atención de Delitos cometidos contra Periodistas, FEADP). One month after the assassination, however, the head of the FEADP, Octavio Orellan Wiarco, revealed that a preliminary investigation had been initiated by the local branch of the PGR rather than by the FEADP.

In June 2009, Chihuahua State Attorney General Patricia González noted that, in February, her office had given the interior secretary, Fernando Gómez Mont, detailed information about the identity of the killer, his possible location at the time the file was handed over and his links to organised crime, as well as information on other individuals who may have been involved in the murder. Both Gómez Mont and Hector García Rodríguez, the PGR's representative in Chihuahua, denied that the killers had been located.

The information that the State Attorney General's Office apparently obtained is based on testimony given by an informant on 8 December 2008 and implicates a former judicial system officer in the killing. To date, no arrest warrants have been issued.

According to information obtained by "El Diario", in contrast to the above, the PRG's office in Chihuahua is following nine possible lines of investigation, one of which is related to a 29 October 2008 article published by Rodríguez which covered the execution aboard a government vehicle of State Attorney General González's nephew, who had a criminal record for drug related charges. The article also mentioned other links between relatives of González and drug trafficking.

Finally, two officials who were in charge of the investigation into Rodríguez's assassination, José Ibarra Limón and Pablo Pasillas Fong, were themselves killed within a month of each other. In addition, the Mexican Social Security Institute has refused to pay a widow's and orphan's pension to the journalist's wife and daughter because the institute has taken the position that the murder was not related to Rodríguez's profession.

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