Leading press freedom organisations in Mexican want federal authorities to re-open the case and bring the killers journalist Regina Martinez to justice. The demand follows new findings of an inquest that point to obstruction of justice by local authorities.
The report, The Murder of Regina Martínez Pérez: An Opportunity for Justice, was published as part of A Safer World for The Truth. The latter is an initiative by Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Martínez was murdered in the Mexican state of Veracruz in 2012 when the region was consumed by many drug wars in the country that was in February this year listed by Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) as a key source of narcotics sold in Eastern Europe. Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Mexico as the most dangerous place to work as a journalist.
According to organisations that took part in the investigation, the report “documents a series of serious anomalies in the official investigation conducted by the Veracruz authorities.”
“Specifically, the report finds that the main suspect for the murder has been convicted on the basis of a confession that was obtained under torture. Furthermore, the report presents several witness statements that severely challenge the official murder theory. Finally, the report finds indications that Martínez was murdered for a specific publication of a political affair,” the organisations say in their findings of an investigation that has taken close to 10 years.
It concludes that the murder of investigative journalist was compromised at the state level. It recorded what to refers to as “strong indications of obstruction of justice by investigators acting under the authority of the State Attorney General of Veracruz.”
Given these findings, press freedom organisations are calling on Mexico’s Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed Against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) to take over jurisdiction of the case of Regina Martínez to make progress with the investigation.
According to Director of Free Press Unlimited (FPU) Leon Willems, “Killing a journalist is the world’s safest crime. in nine out of ten cases the killer goes free. To break the cycle of impunity, Mexican authorities must step up their efforts to ensure justice for Regina Martínez.”
The sentiments were reiterated by Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Joel Simon.
Mr Simon explained, “Mexico has long been one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work. Mexican authorities must do their utmost to address impunity and bring those who kill journalists to justice. Reopening the case of Regina Martínez is an important step to doing just that.”
According to Christophe Deloire, the Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), “Regina Martínez was a brave journalist, who died for telling the truth. Her murder must be resolved and justice must be achieved.”
Mexico is the most dangerous country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere. A recent report by CPJ says at least five journalists were murdered in direct relation to their work in 2020. Veracruz has long been the deadliest state in the country for the press, with at least 21 journalists murdered there between 2011 and 2020.
The organisations that took part in the investigation are Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
The report finds that the main suspect for the murder was convicted on the basis of a confession that was obtained under torture. Furthermore, the report presents several witness statements that severely challenge the official murder theory.
Finally, the report finds indications that Martínez was murdered for a specific publication related to a political affair.
The report concludes that the investigation into the murder of Regina Martínez was compromised at the state level.
Given these findings, press freedom organisations want Mexico’s Special Prosecutor for attention to crimes committed against Freedom of Expression to take over jurisdiction of the case of Regina Martínez to make progress with the investigation.
- A Tell report