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Women journalists were killed in robbery, says prosecutor

(RSF/IFEX) - 5 October 2011 - Reporters Without Borders today praised speedy action to solve last month's robbery-murder in Mexico City of two women journalists and said it hoped the authorities would show the same efficiency in solving the killings of other journalists targeted because of their work.

Two men - Oscar Yair Quiñones Emmer (29) and Lázaro Hernández Ángeles (26) - suspected of killing journalists Ana María Marcela Yarce Viveros and Rocío González Trápaga were arrested on 30 September and 1 October. A third man is also thought to be under arrest.

"We welcome the rapidity of federal officials in moving to punish these killings, which were widely publicised in Mexico and abroad," the worldwide media freedom organisation said. "Even though robbery appears to have been the motive rather than the journalists' work, it shows the fight to punish the killers of media workers can sometimes be successful. We await action on the many other unsolved murders and disappearances of journalists in Mexico over the past decade."

The two named suspects reportedly confessed they had attacked the two women to rob them of a large sum of money they wanted to change into US dollars. Federal District prosecutor Miguel Ángel Mancera told Reporters Without Borders yesterday that Yair Quiñones had known Yarce for three years, since working as a parking attendant at the offices of the weekly Contralínea, which Yarce co-founded.

The prosecutor said the two women had driven to a meeting with the men near a metro station, from which they had been taken in a van to a building in the eastern suburb of Iztalpalapa, where they were forced at gunpoint by Yair Quiñones to undress and were searched. González was strangled with a cord while Yarce was held upstairs and strangled soon afterwards. The killers took the bodies in the van to a park and dumped them. Each journalist had also been shot twice, apparently after being killed.

The murder investigation moved quickly after the phone records of the journalists were checked. Yair Quiñones was already known for theft. The prosecutor's account matched the findings of Contralínea editor Miguel Badillo, who called the investigation "clear and satisfactory."

Two other women journalists have been murdered in Mexico this year - Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, in Veracruz state on 26 July, and María Elizabeth Macías, in Tamaulipas state on 24 September.

Eighty journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000 and 14 others have vanished since 2003. The death-toll has been aggravated by the federal government's war on drugs, which has resulted in the deaths of some 50,000 people.

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