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Poet and translator murdered in Toluca

(WiPC/IFEX) - 10 April 2012 - The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is appalled by the killing on 31 March 2012 of the Mexican poet and translator Guillermo Fernández García. The 79 year-old writer was found dead at his home in Toluca, Mexico State. His murderers had bound his feet and hands before killing him with a blow to the head. The WiPC calls on the Mexican authorities to fully investigate Fernandez' murder and bring those responsible to justice.

Guillermo Fernández García was a noted poet and had published twelve volumes of poetry, including Visitaciones (1964), La palabra a solas (1965), La hora y el sitio (1973), El reino de los ojos (1983), and Imágenes para una piedad (1991). He was also regarded as one of Mexico's finest translators of Italian literature and had translated works by Italo Calvino, Antonio Tabucchi, Cesare Pavese and Guiseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa.

On 31 March 2012, neighbours entered Fernández's home and found the poet dead. He had been killed by a blow to the head from a heavy object. Nothing had been stolen. The motive for the murder is unknown.

To read a report on Fernández's murder, see: El Universal (Spanish)

To read an article about Fernández by his friend, Mexican novelist Juan Villoro, see: Guillermo Fernández García (Spanish)

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to be a writer. In the last five years, 38 print journalists, writers and bloggers have been murdered in connection with their work, and eight have disappeared; most of the dead were involved in reporting on corruption and organized crime. The vast majority of these killings have never been properly investigated; most of the perpetrators remain unpunished.

These crimes go unpunished largely because the Mexican authorities, especially at state level, are notoriously susceptible to corruption. In March, the Mexican senate approved an amendment to the law that would make all crimes against journalists, writers and bloggers federal crimes, thereby protecting investigations from local corrupting influences. The amendment has to be passed by the individual states before it becomes law.

In January 2012, PEN International sent a delegation to Mexico to draw international attention to the climate of impunity that exists there for those who kill writers.

Please send appeals:

* Protesting the murder of Guillermo Fernández García on 31 March 2012;
* Calling for a full and impartial investigation into the murder;
* Calling for an end to Mexico's climate of impunity in which crimes such as these take place.

Appeals to:

Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: + 52 55 5093 4901/ 5277 2376
E-mail: felipe.c[email protected]
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

Attorney General
Lic. Marisela Morales Ibáñez
Procuradora General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Delegación Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
E-mail: [email protected]
Salutation: Señora Procuradora General/Dear Attorney General

Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de México
Lic. Alfredo Catillo Cervantes
Avenida Morelos Oriente 1300
Sexto Piso Central Estatal de Justicia
Colonia de San Sebastián C.P 50090
Estado de México
E-mail: [email protected]

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 10 June 2012.***

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