Journalists Killed  |  Guatemala

Jorge Mérida Pérez

Prensa Libre

May 10, 2008, in Coatepeque, Guatemala

At 4 p.m. on May 10, at least one unidentified individual stormed into Mérida's home in Coatepeque, 130 miles (210 kilometers) southwest of Guatemala City, according to press reports and CPJ interviews. Mérida, 40, the local correspondent for the Guatemala national daily Prensa Libre, was working at his computer at the time of the attack. The journalist was shot four times in the head, Prensa Libre reported. His 14-year-old son was in the house but was not injured.

Miguel Ángel Méndez, Prensa Libre's deputy director, said the journalist had reported on local drug trafficking and government corruption.

In the weeks prior to his death, Mérida told colleagues and family members that he had received multiple threats, Méndez told CPJ. But the journalist did not seem overly concerned about the threats and did not give any more details, according to Méndez. Brenda Dery Muñoz, a local prosecutor for crimes related to drug trafficking, told CPJ that Mérida and other reporters had been threatened after covering a police seizure of 440 pounds (200 kilograms) of cocaine.

Rosa Salazar Marroquín, spokeswoman for the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against journalists and union members, told CPJ that the prosecutor was investigating possible links between Mérida's death and his journalism.


Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.


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