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Two suspects arrested in journalist's murder, but motive remains questionable

(RSF/IFEX) - Bizarre explanations given by the Mexican justice system over the recent deaths of two journalists have done nothing to lift fears over impunity or remove the pressing need for protection for a press under very serious threat, Reporters Without Borders said.

On 11 March 2010, the Justice Ministry for the state of Guerrero publicly produced the two men suspected of ordering the murder of Jorge Ochoa Martínez, publisher and editor of the daily "El Sol de la Costa" and founder of the weekly "El Oportuno", who was shot dead in Ayutla de los Libres, on 29 January.

Honorio Herrera Villanueva and David Bravo Jerónimo supposedly planned the journalist's murder because he drove down a one-way street and refused to back up to let their vehicle pass. Incensed, the two men allegedly paid a taxi driver to kill the journalist, according to the authorities.

"It was a chance, casual occurrence," according to the ministry. The family of Jorge Ochoa has said that a link between the killing and his work as a journalist should not be ruled out, although this has apparently been ignored by the investigation.

In the second case, Jorge Rábago Valdez, a staffer on Radio-Rey and Reporteros en la Red, died in unexplained circumstances in Reynosa on 2 March. According to the justice ministry for the state of Tamaulipas, he suffered a "fainting fit" and went into a "diabetic coma". However his colleagues say he was abducted and tortured before he died.

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Case history

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