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Journalist assassinated in Michoacán

(CEPET/IFEX) - Hugo Alfredo Olivera Cartas, editor of the "El Día de Michoacán" newspaper, director of the ADN news agency and a correspondent for "La Voz de Apatzingán", was found dead early in the morning of 6 July 2010.

The journalist's body was found at approximately 3:00 a.m., inside his pick up truck, on a road heading to Rancho Galeana, outside of Apatzingán, Michoacán, in western Mexico. The authorities were alerted by some individuals passing by who noticed the vehicle which bore the ADN logo.

Olivera Cartas had three bullet shots to the head, apparently fired from a .32 caliber weapon. The journalist's watch, mobile phone and rings were missing, while his wallet was found on the front seat.

CEPET was able to ascertain that Olivera Cartas left the offices of "El Día de Michoacán" between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. on 5 July and that in the afternoon he had participated in a meeting between journalists and managers to reorganise the editorial work at the paper, which is headed by his father, director general David Olivera Salcedo. Contact with the journalist was lost after he left the newspaper office.

Olivera Cartas had reportedly received a call asking him to go to a certain location to receive some information. However, according to sources close to the journalist, he had set off to cover an accident.

On the morning of 6 July, while the journalist's family was at the Apatzingán Regional Assistant Prosecutor's Office to identify the body, unknown individuals broke into the offices of the paper and the news agency and stole computer hard drives and flash drives.

Apatzingán State Governor Leonel Godoy Rangel said that while there is still little information about what happened, there are indications that this was an act by organised criminals. The National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, CNDH) announced that it had launched an investigation, while at the same time lamenting the state of freedom of expression in Mexico, which is at one of the most critical stages in recent years.

Olivera Cartas, who also worked with the Quadratín agency, was married and the father of two children. In February 2010, he filed a complaint with the CNDH after federal police officers assaulted him and pointed their weapons at him. The incident occurred during a police operation in the Chiquihuitillo community, in Apatzingán.

Olivera Cartas's murder brings the number of journalists killed in Mexico since the beginning of 2010 to six, with four reporters assassinated in Guerrero and one in Coahuila.
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