Nineteen years since the disappearance of Mexican journalist Alfredo Jiménez Mota

The IAPA Campaign "Voices Claiming Justice"

Miami (April 2, 2024) – Nineteen years after the disappearance of Mexican journalist Alfredo Jiménez Mota, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) renews its call for the Mexican judiciary to continue investigating the case, identify those responsible, and punish them to the fullest extent of the law.

As part of its campaign "Voices Claiming Justice," IAPA recalls on this date the circumstances of his disappearance and highlights the courage of his brave work.

Alfredo Jiménez Mota, whose whereabouts have been unknown since Saturday, April 2, 2005, when he was 25 years old, dedicated his promising career to investigating organized crime and public security for the daily El Imparcial, in the city of Hermosillo, Sonora state. According to an investigation by IAPA, commissioned to journalist María Idalia Gómez in 2009, Mexican authorities publicly acknowledged at the time that the disappearance was linked to his reports on drug trafficking at the state level.

Following Jiménez Mota's disappearance and threats received by two of his colleagues, El Imparcial decided to cease investigations into drug trafficking related issues, considering that there were no conditions to guarantee the safety of its reporters.

In May 2009, IAPA filed the investigation before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Jiménez Mota's disappearance illustrated the dangers faced by journalists in Mexico, according to the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, which has been involved since 2018 alongside IAPA in the case before the inter-American human rights system.

On December 8, 2021, in a public event attended by his father, José Alfredo Jiménez Hernández; his mother, Esperanza Mota, and his sister, Leticia Jiménez Mota, the Undersecretary of Human Rights, Population, and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior, Alejandro Encinas, apologized because the State "could not guarantee or protect the integrity" of Jiménez Mota. Encinas said that he reaffirmed "the recognition of responsibility for the violation of fundamental human rights to his security, his integrity, and the exercise of his profession." On that same date, a friendly settlement was signed, by which the State committed to implementing measures of satisfaction, rehabilitation, non-repetition, and compensation.

Although Jiménez's relatives considered it positive that the government resumed the investigation into Alfredo's disappearance, they were skeptical that progress would be made in determining his whereabouts. Recently, his father indicated that, although "other lines of investigation are being reviewed, nothing has been achieved, everything remains the same."

The president of the IAPA's Commission on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, reiterated the organization's demand to "continue combating impunity in cases of murders against journalists." Jornet, editorial director of the Argentine daily La Voz del Interior, also urged the candidates for the Presidency of Mexico, who will compete in the elections on June 2, to "emphasize in their political agenda the essential role of journalism in a democracy, to promote the necessary actions to stop violence against the press, and to guarantee the safety of journalists during their work."

Jiménez Hernandez thanked that "journalists who are no longer with us fulfilling their profession are remembered in some way. We are proud that our son and brother is included in this case," who would have turned forty-four on February 16. According to the family, representatives of the Attorney General's Office took blood samples from them several weeks ago with the purpose of contrasting their genetic information in the country's databases.

The agreement, signed within the framework of the case processed before the IACHR, included, among other measures, reparations related to the investigation and effective search actions consisting of "developing and implementing a Search Plan to locate Alfredo Jiménez Mota"; the inauguration of "Alfredo Jiménez Mota" street in Empalme, Sonora, where the family resides; and economic compensation for the victims. The State must also continue training public officials who, due to their functions, may have direct interaction with cases related to the prevention, investigation, and punishment of crimes against journalists and/or freedom of expression. It also established the commitment to improve the protocols of the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists with international practices that tend to generate greater collaboration and coordination between federal and state authorities.

The IAPA campaign "Voices Claiming Justice" aims to persevere in the demand for justice and rescue the memory of journalists murdered in Latin America during the last decades, through the monthly publication of a statement about an emblematic case documented by the organization.

IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.