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Photojournalist assaulted as police officers stand by

(CEPET/IFEX) - 29 March 2010 - In the early morning of 26 March 2010, a photojournalist from the newspaper "El Heraldo de Chihuahua" was assaulted while at least four police officers stood by and watched. The reporter, whose name has not been released, was at a murder scene in the city of Chihuahua in northern Mexico.

A number of reporters who cover the police beat were at the crime scene after receiving a report that a man in a vehicle had been killed. At the crime scene, about 10 people tried to prevent the journalists from taking pictures. One man from the group approached the reporter from "El Heraldo de Chihuahua" and punched him in the face. The journalist fell and dropped his camera, and the man continued kicking him while he was lying on the ground. The journalist's camera slipped from his hands and landed about 10 metres away. After the assault, the man disappeared into the crowd. Four police officers saw the incident take place but none of them intervened to stop it.

The journalist was taken to hospital with injuries to his head and body, where doctors diagnosed him with a deviated septum. The journalist's camera was also damaged.

In an interview with CEPET, the journalist said that even though there were four police officers from the Chihuahua Public Security Office there, the crime scene was not cordoned off. Another reporter from "El Heraldo de Chihuahua", who arrived a few minutes after, interrogated the agents, who said that they did not intervene because there were only four police officers and the assailants might have been armed.

The reporter filed a complaint with the state Attorney General's Office. The director of public security, Javier Aguayo y Camargo, said that there was no report of the incident on file. "I don't know anything about the assault. If it happened, then let the reporter file a report and then we will investigate."

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