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Serious doubts in Mexico over investigation of journalist's murder

(CPJ/IFEX) - 2 November 2012 - The following is a CPJ Blog post:

By Mike O'Connor/CPJ Mexico Representative

Veracruz is a beautiful, long, thin state on the Gulf coast of Mexico where many journalists are terrified not only of the rampant organized crime groups that kill and control, but also of the state government. Fear that state officials will order them murdered for what they investigate or write has forced about a dozen journalists to flee the state, claiming that fear also puts a clamp on coverage for those who remain. Many journalists still working in the state tell CPJ they agree.

What federal officials told CPJ about the keystone evidence in the state's most high-profile journalist murder--that of Regina Martínez Pérez, an esteemed correspondent for the highly respected national magazine Proceso--only adds to the fear. It makes it look as if the state is fabricating a murder case against the wrong people just to clear the books, while the guilty get away. And this is a case where journalists say high-ranking politicians have the most to gain by the reporter's death.

According to the federal officials, the man who the state attorney general said had freely confessed to murdering Martínez claimed in his first appearance before a judge that he had been tortured and his mother threatened with death if he did not confess to the murder. The man, Jorge Hernández Silva, retracted his confession, according to the federal officials. Journalists in Veracruz confirmed the account. The court appearance was on Wednesday.

The state Attorney General's office did not respond to CPJ's requests for comment.

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