May 21, 2012

Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: (+ 52 55) 5093 4901/ 5277 2376

Attorney General of the Republic

Lic. Marisela Morales Ibáñez
Procuradora General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,000 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to protecting freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our alarm regarding the murder of yet another journalist, Marco Antonio Ávila García.

According to our information, on May 18, 2012, the body of Marco Antonio Ávila García was found in a plastic bag which had been left on the side of a road just outside the city of Empalme. He had been tortured and then strangled to death. Police reportedly found a message signed by a cartel near the body, but have not revealed its contents. According to witnesses, three armed men approached Ávila at a car wash in Obregon the day before and asked him if he was a journalist. After Ávila replied that he was, they took him into a waiting truck and drove away. We understand that Sonora’s State Attorney Office and Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights will launch an investigation.

Marco Antonio Ávila García, 39, reported on organized crime for the newspapers Diario Sonora de la Tarde and El Regional de Sonora. He is among seven print journalists and writers murdered in Mexico since January 2012. He is the 43rd murdered since December 2006.

PEN American Center is incredibly concerned by the death of Marco Antonio Ávila García, and calls for a full and impartial investigation into his murder. We also urge the Attorney General of the Republic to take on his case and authorities to take further measures to tackle local corruption and end the climate of impunity in which crimes against journalists and writers take place.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: Ambassador Arturo Sarukhán
Mexican Ambassador to the United States
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20006
Fax: (202) 728-1698

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