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Abducted journalist found dead

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Mexico, D.F. August 25, 2011 - The body of journalist Humberto Millán Salazar, director of the online journal "A discussion" in Culiacán, Sinaloa (northwestern Mexico), was found on August 25. The journalist was reported missing yesterday at 6:15 am (local time) after he was kidnapped by a group of armed men.

The deputy attorney general of Sinaloa, Martin Robles Armenta, said Millán Salazar was found at 9:15 am local time and had been dead for 24 hours.

Millán Salazar, 53, had more than 30 years of experience in journalism, specialising in political analysis, and was also a lawyer. For a number of years, he had worked with the "El Sol de Sinaloa" newspaper. In 1996 he founded the weekly journal "A discusión", which was originally published in print form but switched to an online format in 2011.

Millán Salazar and his brother were kidnapped by armed men around 6:15 am on Wednesday, August 24, as they were leaving the "A discussion" building and heading to the offices of Grupo Radio Formula in Culiacán, where the journalist hosted a political opinion programme. His brother was released unharmed yesterday.

ARTICLE 19 also notes that Luis Enrique Ramírez, a former columnist for "El Debate" newspaper, decided to leave Sinaloa because conditions in the state were making it very difficult for him to carry out his work. "We prefer to keep quiet, distance ourselves from the situation, and do our best to survive," said a comment published on his blog.

So far in 2011, six journalists have been murdered in Mexico and in the last two years two journalists have been killed in the state of Sinaloa: José Luis Romero, who was kidnapped and murdered in late 2009 in Los Mochis, and now Millán Salazar in Culiacán.

ARTICLE 19 expresses its solidarity with and offers condolences to the family of Millán Salazar, as well as to the journalists' union in Sinaloa.

We call on the Sinaloan government, Gov. Mario López Valdez and especially Attorney Robles Armenta to investigate the incident expeditiously and ensure that the preliminary inquiry fully examines whether the murder was linked to the journalist's profession.

At the same time, we demand that the Mexican government take all necessary measures to guarantee the safety of journalist Luis Enrique Ramirez.
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