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Journalist murdered in Mexico City after attempting to escape violence in Veracruz state

Journalists and activists hold up cut-out images of slain photojournalist during a protest in Mexico City, 2 August 2015
Journalists and activists hold up cut-out images of slain photojournalist during a protest in Mexico City, 2 August 2015

AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

This statement was originally published by the Inter American Press Association on 3 August 2015.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed concern for the murder in Mexico of photojournalist Rubén Espinosa, questioned the official means of protection and urged the authorities to urgently investigate so as to shed light on the crime and determine who was responsible so that it does not go unpunished.

Espinosa, 31, worked for the Veracurz news agency AVC and was also correspondent for Proceso magazine and for the Cuartoscuro agency. It was learned that his body – which showed signs of torture – was discovered on Friday (July 31) in an apartment in the Mexico City neighborhood of Narvarte along, with those of four women, several of whom were identified as Veracruz social activists.

"We condemn Espinosa's murder which we see as a serious sign of the decomposition and violence facing Mexico and journalists in particular," declared IAPA President Gustavo Mohme.

"Something is failing" added Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, "and it is regrettable that Espinosa was killed precisely in Mexico City, where he had sought refuge so as to ensure his physical safety."

Until June this year, Espinosa had been living and working for seven years in Xalapa, capital of Veracruz state, regarded as one of Mexico's most dangerous places to work as a journalist. He moved to Mexico City for security reasons after he was attacked and intimidated on various occasions. Since 2012, he had been complaining of threats against his life connected to his work as a journalist (http://www.sinembargo.mx/01-07-2015/1398019 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7opu4kejB0).

Claudio Paolillo, chairman of IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, added, "We reiterate our criticism of the lack of stability and the ineffectiveness of the mechanism created in Mexico to protect journalists and human rights defenders." Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, also declared that the IAPA expresses its condolences to and solidarity with the journalists' family members and colleagues.

Journalists, human rights organizations and social activists on Sunday staged a demonstration in the Mexican capital calling for the official investigations to take into account Espinosa's work as a journalist as a motive for the crime and the threats received by him, who used to cover social protests, among them those ones that demanded the solving of murders of journalists.

Before learning of the discovery of the body, the organization ARTÍCULO 19 published a Tweet saying, "At the request of Rubén Espinosa's family, it is made public that for the last 24 hours his whereabouts [have been] unknown."

Also murdered in Mexico this year were journalists Filadelfo Sánchez Sarmiento de Oaxaca, Armando Saldaña Morales and Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, also from Veracruz.

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