Body of Disappeared Journalist Found
PEN International protests the murder of La Verdad de Jáltipan columnist Noel López Olguín, whose body was found in Veracruz state on June 1, 2011, following his abduction on March 8. A drug gang leader has confessed to killing him. The motive for the crime is not known but it appears likely to be linked to López’S journalism as his articles were reportedly extremely critical of local corruption. López’S death brings the total of print journalists and writers murdered in Mexico since 2004 to 38. PEN calls on the federal and state authorities to investigate López’S murder as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring the culprits to justice. It also calls on the authorities to implement the journalist protection mechanisms it promised in November 2010 immediately.
A columnist for La Verdad de Jáltipan newspaper, López was abducted in Jáltipan, in Veracruz state, by armed men on March 8, 2011, and was found buried in a clandestine grave in Chinameca, also in Veracruz state, on June 1. His body was identified by his family the same day. It was located after a drug gang leader arrested by the Mexican army and found in possession of López’s camera confessed on May 29 to killing the journalist, and revealed where he was buried. López reportedly died from a blow to the head.
The drug leader gave no motive for the killing. However, it seems likely that it was linked to López’s journalism. He was reportedly sharply critical of local corruption in his articles and columns and had appealed to the public to report abuses by the authorities and organized crime groups. Although López had worked for many years for La Verdad de Jáltipan, as well as for several other papers in Veracruz state, including the weeklies Noticias de Acayucan and Horizonte, media outlets reportedly distanced themselves from him after he was kidnapped for fear of reprisals, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Veracruz state is a major transit point for drugs trafficked to the USA. Los Zetas, a paramilitary criminal gang linked to drugs traffickers, are reportedly particularly active in the region of Jáltipan, where López lived and worked.
Write A Letter
- Protesting the murder of newspaper columnist Noel López Olguín, who was abducted in Jáltipan, Veracruz state, on March 8, 2011, and whose body was found on June 1 after a drug gang leader confessed to killing him;
- Calling for a full and impartial investigation into López’s murder, focusing on his journalistic work as a possible motive, with the involvement of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression, as well as into all other unsolved journalist killings and disappearances in Mexico;
- Calling on the government of President Felipe Calderón to fulfil 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;
- Calling on the federal authorities to implement the journalist protection mechanisms it promised in November 2010 immediately.
Send Your Letter To
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
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr. President
Lic. Arturo Chávez Chávez
Procurador General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Tel: + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
E-mail: [email protected]
Salutation: Señor Procurador General/Dear Attorney General
Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Freedom of Expression
Dr. Gustavo Salas Chávez
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas (FEADP)
Email: [email protected]
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Mexico in your country if possible.
Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN if sending appeals after August 7, 2011: ftw [at] pen.org