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Mexican journalist kidnapped by armed men after threats from local mayor

An activist holds a picture of missing journalist Moises Sanchez, during the
An activist holds a picture of missing journalist Moises Sanchez, during the "Globos por Ayotzinapa" activity at at Angel de la Independencia monument in Mexico City on 4 January 2015

REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

This is a translation of an article originally published on on 3 January 2015.

Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, a journalist in the city of Medellín de Bravo, Veracruz, has been kidnapped by armed men.

The incident took place on Friday 2 January at 19:00 when Sánchez Cerezo was at home in the community of Gutiérrez Rosas. According to witnesses, in addition to violently breaking into his home and kidnapping the journalist, his attackers also took a computer, camera and cell phone.

Sánchez Cerezo is the director and editor of the La Unión newspaper in Medellín de Bravo, an outlet that produces reports critical of issues in the city.

In recent weeks Sánchez Cerezo reported about violent incidents in the region. In a Facebook post on 13 December he wrote about an upcoming activity report from the mayor Omar Cruz Reyes; about the assault and murder of a merchant in El Tejar, a community in Medellín de Bravo; and about a shoot-out in the same community that left a father and son dead. He said this all took place while a unit of the Mexican Navy was protecting the mayor.

The out-of-control insecurity in the city led the journalist and a group of neighbours in his community to create the “Gutiérrez Rosas Self Defense Committee”. Sánchez Cerezo posted on his Facebook about a protest that the new group had planned and called on municipal figures to attend.

On 27 December, a day after the Cruz Reyes activity report was released, the journalist once again took to Facebook to post articles from various Veracruz media outlets about two bodies that had been found in the area.

Information obtained anonymously by ARTICLE 19 reveals that the journalism and activism carried out by Sánchez Cerezo has provoked the anger of the mayor of Medellín de Bravo. Three days before the journalist was taken, a reliable source said that Omar Cruz Reyes had wanted to shut him up by teaching him a lesson.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists to guarantee the physical safety of Sánchez Cerezo and his family. As well, the organisation calls on the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression to take on the case and start investigations.

From 2000 to the present, ARTICLE 19 has documented the murders of 15 journalists in Veracruz; now with Moisés Sánchez Cerezo missing, five media workers have disappeared in the region.

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