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IAPA urges IACHR to act on unpunished murder of Mexican newsman

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, October 25, 2010 - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has called on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to act on its denunciation of the still unpunished 1997 murder of Mexican journalist Benjamín Flores González.

The IAPA re-submitted the case to the hemisphere body on October 14 after discovering major irregularities in the legal proceedings while carrying out a new investigation. The IACHR had rejected the case, originally submitted by the IAPA on July 27, 2000, on the grounds that it felt all the resources of the local jurisdiction had not been exhausted.

In the new evidence provided by the IAPA in a 69-page document, it is established that in addition to the fact that three defendants were acquitted, the Sonora state authorities have failed to continue gathering evidence in the case and prosecute all those responsible. The new investigation shows inconsistencies which should be taken up by the State Attorney's office to determine whether or not judicial officials have been involved in any wrongdoing.

Flores González, editor of the San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora state newspaper La Prensa, was killed on July 15, 1997 as he was getting out of his car and about to enter the newspaper's offices. He was intercepted by an unidentified assailant who shot him in the back with an AK-47 rifle and then gave him the coup de grace with a 22-caliber pistol.

Flores González, 29, according to the police was killed in reprisal for what he had been writing about. In his column titled "No confirmado" (Unconfirmed) he had exposed corruption of public officials, the illicit drug trade and human trafficking in the area.

The IAPA to date has submitted to the IACHR the results of 27 investigations it has conducted into the murders of journalists since 1997, with the aim of justice being achieved and an end put to the impunity surrounding the crimes.

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