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Radio host is second commentator killed in Oaxaca within a week

Salvador Olmos García, an announcer for the Tu Un Ñuu Savi community radio station, was assassinated by municipal police officers in Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca state, on the morning of Sunday, 26 June 2016.

According to a member of the radio station who asked to remain anonymous, Olmos left his home at about 3:00 a.m., heading for the station, and was intercepted by municipal police officers.

A few hours earlier, at about 9:00 p.m. on Saturday 25 June, the members of the radio station had been concerned about intimidation tactics. In an interview with ARTICLE 19, the radio station member said, “We were watchful because two vehicles had been circling around the school that houses the radio station. The people in the vehicles looked like civilians but we believed them to be federal police officers. We got together and formed barricades. Later on, the situation calmed down, but our colleague never arrived.”

The operators of the radio station said that this was not the first time they had been subjected to intimidation tactics by the federal police.

“Witnesses said that Olmos left his house and was intercepted by two members of the municipal police, who took him to an isolated neighbourhood called Las Huertas. They took his shoes and other belongings. I imagine he was beaten and fled. His attackers got into the patrol vehicle, pursued him and ran him over. Residents of the area said that they ran over him and still continued beating him afterward.”

Another commentator from the radio station–who also did not want his name made public –added that witnesses “saw him running barefoot and later saw a municipal vehicle run over him head-on.”

Olmos hosted the “Pitaya negra” programme, broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays. The programme touched on various social and cultural topics, among them the local communities' struggles against mining companies and their environmental protection efforts. Olmos, who had worked with the station for two years, was part of a rock music group called Los Anónimos and was also a clothing vendor at the municipality's Zaragoza market.

The Tu Un Ñuu Savi radio station broadcasts from the Huajuapan Normal School and has covered demonstrations carried out by teachers and violent actions that took place in the region on 17, 18 and 19 June. A broadcast covering incidents that took place in the municipality of Nochixtlán on Sunday 19 June was picked up by national and international radio stations.

In its report Cobertura bajo fuego: Violencia contra la prensa durante protestas en Oaxaca y CDMX (Coverage under fire: Violence against the media during protests in Oaxaca and Mexico City), ARTICLE 19 documented 16 attacks on journalists in Oaxaca and Mexico City between 17 and 21 June, including one murder and four attempted murders. Of these incidents, 14 took place in the Oaxacan towns of Ixtepec, Hacienda Blanca, Juchitán and Nochixtlán. Eleven of the 16 attacks were perpetrated by public security personnel.

On 26 June, the Huajuapan municipal council published a press release acknowledging a municipal police force member's involvement in the murder of Salvador Olmos. The press release noted that the suspect had been apprehended and brought before the public prosecutor.

Since this case represents an extrajudicial execution by a member of the public security forces, ARTICLE 19 demands clarification of what took place via a thorough, impartial, objective and professional investigation, in order to identify and punish those responsible for the crime. The investigation must look into the chain of command and prioritise an examination of links to Olmos's journalistic work and freedom of expression rights.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Oaxacan government authorities to carry out the necessary measures to protect Salvador Olmos García's family and colleagues at the Tu Un Ñuu Savi radio station.

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