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Mexican authorities must investigate Sinaloan journalist's disappearance

Antonio Gamboa Urías, a journalist and editor of Nueva Prensa magazine, based in the municipality of Los Mochis, Sinaloa State, went missing on 10 October 2014.

Gamboa Urías, a journalist with more than 18 years' experience, has been the director of Nueva Prensa for about ten years. The magazine touches on issues related to corruption and politics in the region.

In August 2014, Gamboa Urías actively participated in demonstrations by Sinaloan journalists against the approval of the so-called "Gag Law" (Ley Mordaza) that limited journalistic coverage of criminal activities in the state. The law was eventually repealed by the state congress.

“We don't have any news (from the Sinaloa State Prosecutor's Office), we have no information on how the investigation is going," said Gloria Gamboa Urías, the journalist's sister.

Gloria Gamboa told ARTICLE 19 in an interview that her brother had not received threats or been the target of any other actions that would lead them to believe that he was at risk prior to his disappearance.

Gamboa Urías was last seen on 10 October at 11:00 p.m. at a business owned by his brother. When leaving the premises, he got into his vehicle, a red Saturn Vue, and his whereabouts have not been known since.

ARTICLE 19 has documented the disappearance of 16 journalists in Mexico in 11 years. The states of Veracruz and Michoacán have had the highest number of cases, with four disappearances each.

Gamboa Urías's disappearance took place several hours before the assassination of community leader and radio host Atilano Román, who was shot on the morning of 11 October in the municipality of Mazatlán while he was carrying out a live broadcast of his radio programme "Así es mi Tierra".

Román's assassination represented the tenth attack on free expression in Sinaloa in 2014.

ARTICLE 19 is of the opinion that Article 73, Section XXI of the Mexican Constitution is applicable in Gamboa Urías's case, such that the National Attorney General's Office via the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression should investigate his disappearance. This opinion is based on the ineffectiveness of the Sinaloa State Prosecutor's Office and the fact that the journalist's disappearance constitutes a serious crime that puts Gamboa Urías's life in danger and severely impacts freedom of expression in the state as a whole.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the authorities in charge of protecting human rights defenders and journalists to speak out regarding this case and implement all necessary measures to guarantee the safety of Gamboa Urías's family and colleagues.

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