Mexican mayor linked to editor’s murder

The Inter American Press Association has expressed outrage at the murder of Mexican journalist Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, who had gone missing at the beginning of this month, and called on Mexico’s authorities to apply justice in an exemplary manner on those who masterminded and carried out the crime.

Sánchez Cerezo, 49, was the editor and publisher of the community weekly La Unión, in the city of Medellín de Bravo, Veracruz state. Jan. 2 a group of armed men in civilian clothes broke into his home and forcefully dragged him out, along with his computer, camera and mobile phone.

Association President Gustavo Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, expressed his sympathy to the journalist’s family and colleagues and urged the authorities to “act promptly in the investigations and application of justice against all those who masterminded and carried out the murder.”

The chairman of the association’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, added, “The violence and risks that journalists face in México have claimed a new victim.” Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, stressed “the need for protection mechanisms created in México to function effectively so that journalists can be sure that they can count on a tool that ensures their safety so they can continue doing their work.”

Concerning the case the Veracruz public prosecutor’s office reported that there was being investigated the apparent responsibility of the Medellín mayor, Omar Cruz Reyes, who was believed to have ordered the murder, according to a confession by a former municipal policeman, the alleged murderer, now under arrest. The public prosecutor’s office asked congress to strip the mayor of his immunity in order to go ahead with his detention.

In his publication Sánchez Cerezo was denouncing an increase in violence and delinquency, lack of safety and of municipal action to deal with these problems and the alleged involvement of the mayor in drug trafficking. Last year he was threatened on several occasions.

Veracruz is one of the most violent places in Mexico with a large number of crimes of journalists in recent years and where most reporters have been ousted due to threats. Last year journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz was killed, but his case has not been solved yet.

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