Impunity - Mexico

WHEREAS journalist Víctor Manuel Oropeza was murdered in July 1991 and since then no one has been sentenced for the crime WHEREAS in February of this year the IAPA had a working session with representatives of the Foreign Relations Department and the Chihuahua state attorney general to analyze the case record which showed that the authorities did not investigate the crime thoroughly, and evidence was lost, although it is not know whether this was fraudulent WHEREAS the members of the work group will continue the joint review of the record of the case of Héctor Félix Miranda, who was murdered April 20, 1988, and the first meeting was held May 13 and 14, 2004 WHEREAS Benjamín Flores González, editor of La Prensa of San Luis Río Colorado (Sonora) was murdered July 15, 1997, because of information the daily had published about drug traffickers and corrupt officials; and four people were detained and sentenced, two of whom were later acquitted for lack of evidence, including the prime suspect, Luis Enrique Rincón Muro (who was released in July of 2004) WHEREAS only Vidal Zamora Lara and Jorge Pacheco Reyes remain in prison and four arrest warrants have yet to be served after more than seven years, and the Sonora authorities have reported no new investigations WHEREAS the two people found guilty of the murder of journalist Phillip True, the San Antonio Express-News correspondent in Mexico in 1998 are still at large, despite the fact that the Jalisco judiciary issued an arrest warrant for them in June of 2002 and recently the defendants lost the request for an appeal that had protected them WHEREAS journalist Francisco Ortiz Franco was murdered June 22, 2004 and the state attorney general’s office of Baja California ceded jurisdiction to the federal attorney general’s office and so far the investigation has not been completed, no information has been provided about its progress and the suspects are at large WHEREAS journalist Francisco Arratia Saldierna was murdered on August 31, 2004 in the city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and on September 24 Raúl Castelán Cruz, a member of the Gulf Cartel and a suspected accomplice of the murderers was put on trial in criminal court for his participation in the crime WHEREAS the defendant confessed that the motive was the publication of news articles and so far there has been no more information about the crime and no one else has been detained, which means the murderers are at large WHEREAS in September of 2004 the federal attorney general’s office took on only the investigation of the federal crimes allegedly committed by Raúl Castelán Cruz and not the investigations of the crime against journalist Francisco Arratia Saldierna which remained in the hands of the Tamaulipas attorney general’s office WHEREAS Gregorio Rodríguez Hernández, a photographer for the daily El Debate of Mazatlán, was murdered on November 28, 2004 in Escuinapa, Sinaloa and so far two people have been detained, one accused of committing the murder and the other of being an accomplice although the suspected mastermind, Antonio Fraustro Ocampo, an alleged drug trafficker in the region, has not been put on trial WHEREAS in 2004 threats and pressure against journalists increased, especially those who work in northern states, such as Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California; cases in which armed subjects threatened them outside their offices or homes or even burned their cars, and none of these cases has been solved by authorities WHEREAS journalist Leodegario Aguilera Lucas was kidnapped on May 22, 2004 in Acapulco, Guerrero, and four months later the state attorney general’s office said his charred body had been found although there was no forensic evidence to confirm it; that Guerrero authorities have insisted that Leodegario Aguilera Lucas’s death had to do with a problem over land ownership and they ruled out from the beginning the possibility that he might have disappeared because of his journalistic work or the hypothesis of drug trafficking on corruption in the state government, which his family has reported as possible reasons for the kidnapping and so far no clear conclusions have been presented WHEREAS Roberto Javier Mora Garcia, editorial editor of El Mañana of Nuevo Laredo, was murdered March 19, 2004, police officials said it was a crime of passion, one of those named as a suspect was killed in jail and the investigations have stalled WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says: “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly” THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to exhort the federal government and the Chihuahua state attorney general’s office to comply with the agreement signed February 19, 2005 in Ciudad Juárez concerning the crime against Victor Manuel Oropeza, which gives an initial response to the resolution of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and that commits, among other things to reactivate the investigations and determine whether the authorities in charge of the initial inquiries committed fraud to follow the activities of the work group for the review and reading of the record in the case of Héctor Félix Miranda to ask the federal government to conduct the formalities necessary for the federal attorney general’s office to submit copies of the record that was made at the time about the murder of Víctor Manuel Oropeza to the Chihuahua state attorney general’s office so it will have all the proceedings in the case to request the Sonora state attorney general’s office to review the record of the murder of Benjamín Flores González, editor of La Prensa of San Luis Río Colorado, in light of the acquittals of those believed to be most responsible for the crime and to urge the office to execute the four arrest warrants that have been pending for seven years to urge the Mexican government that the appropriate authorities carry out the rearrest order against the two men responsible for the murder of journalist Philip True to urge the federal attorney general’s office to detain and try those responsible for the murder of journalist Francisco Ortiz Franco and provide information about the results of the investigation to ask the Tamaulipas attorney general’s office to continue investigating the murder of Francisco Arratia Saldierna so that all those responsible are arrested to ask the state attorney general’s office of Sinaloa to finish the investigation of the crime against photographer Gregorio Rodríguez Hernández so everyone involved is arrested to exhort the authorities of Sinaloa, Sonora, Baja California and Tamaulipas to thoroughly investigate the threats and attacks against journalists in those states to determine if they were attacked because of their work to ask the attorney general’s office of Guerrero state to conclude the investigation of the disappearance of journalist Leodegario Aguilera Lucas and determine if it was because of his professional work to ask the state attorney general’s office of Tamaulipas to more thoroughly investigate the murder of the editorial editor of El Mañana of Nuevo Laredo, Roberto Javier Mora García and determine if his death was because of his work at the daily to insist that the federal government move forward to achieve the necessary consensus to amend the federal Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedures Code and other regulations that allow the investigation of crimes committed against journalists because of their work to be investigated by the federal attorney general’s office.