November 15, 2011

Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
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
Procuradora General de la República
Lic. Marisela Morales Ibáñez
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

Dr Gustavo Salas Chávez
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra la Libertad de Expresión (FEADLE)

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to defending freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our extreme concern regarding the murder and decapitation of the blogger known as Rascatripas.

According to our information, the body of blogger Rascatripas was found bound and decapitated on November 9, 2011, in Nuevo Laredo. A message left with the corpse said: “This happened to me because I didn’t understand that I shouldn’t report on the Internet.” Rascatripas was the moderator for a web site that denounced Nuevo Laredo’s organized crime, and was targeted for writing about the activities of a Mexican drugs gang.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. Since January 2004, 43 print journalists and two writers have been murdered, and 11 print journalists have gone missing. Rascatripas’s death follows the murder of another blogger and journalist in Nuevo Laredo, María Elizabeth Macías Castro, who was found dead and decapitated on September 24, 2011. These killings are part of a worrying trend in Mexico, where drugs gangs are increasingly targeting the Internet, forcing bloggers and chat rooms to exercise self-censorship or face being shut down or killed.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned that the murder of Rascatripas indicates an ongoing intolerance of journalist and a climate of impunity in Mexico. We therefore call for an investigation into the murder, and reiterate our call on President Felipe Calderón to fulfill promises to make crimes against journalists a federal offense by amending the Constitution so that federal authorities have the power to investigate, prosecute, and punish such crimes, and for federal authorities to immediately implement the journalist protection mechanisms it promised in November 2010.

Thank you for your attention to this critical 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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