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Journalist Marcos Ávila García found dead in Sonora after being kidnapped

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 18 May 2012, Mexico City - The body of Marcos Ávila García, a reporter for the newspaper "El Regional de Sonora", who was kidnapped on 17 May 2012 by armed men, was found on the afternoon of 18 May, metres from the highway that connects the municipalities of Guaymas and Empalme. This case makes Ávila García the fifth journalist killed in the country this year for reasons likely linked to their work.

The journalist was stopped at 4:20 p.m. by a group of armed men, whose faces were covered, at a car wash located in Municipio Libre, Ciudad Obregón. Although Sonora authorities announced a coordinated operation between the three levels of government to monitor all roads heading out of the area, Ávila García was found about 120 kilometers away from the place he was last seen alive.

In December 2011, in the Mexico Mission Report issued by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances a call was made for the establishment of a coordinated national search programme and the creation of immediate response protocols coordinated by various security agencies so that the whereabouts of missing people can be quickly established.

Not only has there been no response to these calls, on 18 May there was unfortunately no coordination between federal and state agencies to find the missing journalist.

ARTICLE 19 condems this latest murder of a media worker and regrets the lack of a timely response that may have saved the life of Ávila García.

The organisation calls on authorities to comply with their international obligations, investigate who is responsible in order to stop the cycle of impunity, guarantee the right to free expression and ensure that victims receive adequate compensation.

Lastly, ARTICLE 19 calls for protective measures for the family and friends of Marcos Ávila García and laments his passing.

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