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

Governor of the State of Morelos

Mtro. Marco Antonio Adame Castillo
Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Morelos
Palacio de Gobierno, 1er. Piso,
Centro, 62000, Cuernavaca, Morelos

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 journalist and political activist René Orta Salgado.

According to our information, on May 12, 2012, René Orta Salgado was reported missing by his family, and was found dead 24 hours later in his car in Cuernavaca, Morelos State. A scarf had been taped over his face using industrial adhesive tape. According to authorities, Orta had not received death threats previously, and the Morelos State Attorney’s Office will be carrying out an investigation.

René Orta Salgado, 43, had 20 years of journalism experience and was a former reporter for El Sol de Cuernavaca. He was a vocal supporter of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and in December 2011, he set up a political group supporting PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto in the upcoming presidential elections.

PEN American Center is incredibly concerned by the death of René Orta Salgado, and urges a full and impartial investigation into his murder with his activism and journalism as possible motives. We are grateful that Morelos is one of 10 states that have ratified the amendment federalizing crimes against journalists and writers; we continue to call for further measures to be taken to end the climate of impunity in which these crimes 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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