Calls for swift investigation
Miami (January 11, 2010)–The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned the murder of journalist Valentín Valdés Espinosa in the Mexican state of Coahuila and called on authorities there to investigate immediately in order to determine the motive and identify perpetrators.
The body of Valdés Espinosa, 29, a reporter with the newspaper Zócalo de Saltillo, was found with signs of torture and five gunshot wounds early January 8 outside a motel in Saltillo, capital of Coahuila in northeastern Mexico. Next to the body was a warning that read “This is what will happen to anyone who doesn’t understand; this message is meant for everybody.”
Valdés Espinosa had worked covering local government and public safety for the Zócalo de Saltillo paper since it’s launch in June 2008.
According to reports, after work, around 11 p.m. on January 7, Valdés Espinosa and two other journalists (one from his newspaper) were driving through the city in his car when they were intercepted by two pickup trucks. Several men jumped out, grabbed two of the journalists and took them to an unknown destination.
IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre, managing editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, expressed regret for Valdés Espinosa’s death and added “Once again we start the year off in Mexico with a scourge of violence unleashed against journalists. We call on the Mexican authorities to deal urgently with this serious matter that affects the work of a free press and causes the practice of self-censorship to avoid retaliation.”
Aguirre urged a prompt investigation into why Valdés Espinosa was killed and to bring those responsible to justice.
This new murder brought to five the number of journalists killed or gone missing in Coahuila since 1989. The others were Ezequiel Huera Acosta (murdered in 1989) and José Valdés (2006) with the whereabouts of Cuauhtémoc Ornelas Ocampo (who disappeared in1995) and Rafael Ortiz Martínez (2006) remaining unknown.
In 2009 11 journalists were murdered in Mexico.
For more information about the Valdés Espinosa case, go to:http://www.impunidad.com/index.php?shownews=449&idioma=sp
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.