July 30, 2009

Lic. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza
Procurador General de la Républica
c/o H.E. Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
Fax: (202) 728-1698

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,300 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 serious concern about the apparent lack of progress in the investigation into the murder of anthropologist, author and indigenous rights activist Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez Ávila.

According to our information, Mr. Gutiérrez, author of a number of books on the indigenous people of Guerrero state and an activist for the rights of the Amuzgo people, was killed on July 26, 2008, while driving towards the capital of Guerrero, Chilpancingo de los Bravo. His body was found covered in bruises and cuts by the side of the Acapulco-Pintopepa highway near La Caridad community in the municipality of San Marcos, Guerrero the same day. Although initial police reports suggested that Gutiérrez died as a result of a car accident, it is now believed that he was beaten to death. According to his family, the vehicle in which Gutiérrez was traveling was untouched and only his filming equipment had been stolen.
In September last year, PEN wrote to the Guerrero state and federal authorities asking them to ensure that a full and impartial investigation into Gutierrez’ murder would be carried out and that those responsible would be brought to justice. However, a year after the killing, there has been no response from the authorities; nor have we received any reports on the progress of the investigation from other sources. Our understanding is that the crime remains unsolved. This is particularly worrisome given that Gutiérrez is just one of 24 writers murdered in Mexico in the last five years, the majority of whom were print journalists. Four more print journalists have disappeared in the same period. We therefore reiterate our call for a full and impartial investigation into the murder of Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez Ávila and all other unsolved murders of journalists in Mexico so that those responsible may be brought to justice.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Hannah Pakula                    
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee   

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

Emb. Patricia Espinosa Cantellano
Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores
Av. Plaza Juárez n° 20, Col. Centro, Del. Cuauhtémoc
México D.F., C.P. 06010
Fax: + 52 55 3686 6028

Lic. Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo
Gobernador del Estado de Guerrero
Palacio de Gobierno, Boulevard René Juárez #62
Col. De los Servicios, Chilpancingo, Guerrero
Fax: + 52 74 74 71 99 56

Lic. Eduardo Murueta Urrutia  
Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de Guerrero
Carretera Nacional México- Acapulco Km. 6+300
Tramo Chilpancingo-Petaquillios, Chilpancingo 39090, Guerrero
Fax: + 52 74 74 72 23 28