Masked men kidnapped Romero as he entered a restaurant in
The detective assigned to the abductions was himself murdered about six hours after the kidnappings were reported, Mexican press reports said. The state attorney general told reporters that the two cases might be connected, according to press reports.
On January 16, 2010, Romero's body was found along a rural
Romero had covered the crime beat for the statewide radio broadcaster Línea Directa for 10 years, News Director Luis Alberto Díaz told CPJ. He said he believed Romero was the victim of one of two warring drug cartels. Díaz said murdering a well-known broadcaster fit into the cartels' intentions to intimidate the public. "They want to seed psychosis among the audience; they want to terrorize; they want to keep people's mouths shut," Díaz said.
New York, January 4, 2010---The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on state and federal authorities to step up their investigation into the abduction of a veteran police reporter who was seized by masked men in Sinaloa state on Wednesday. The reporter, José Luis Romero, remained missing today.
Arratia, 55, a columnist with four regional newspapers throughout the state of Tamaulipas, died of a heart attack after being brutally beaten in the city of Matamoros, near the U.S. border.
Arratia wrote a column called "Portavoz" (Spokesman) that appeared in El Imparcial and El Regional in Matamoros, and Mercurio and El Cinco in Ciudad Victoria, the state capital. It also appeared in the Internet publication "En Línea Directa." In his column, Arratia wrote frequently about political corruption, organized crime, and education. He was also a high school teacher and ran a used car business in this border region near Texas.
According to Mexican news reports, Arratia had an argument with a group of individuals who came to his business in a red vehicle around 1:30 p.m. On his way home, a half hour later, Arratia was intercepted and kidnapped by the group, the Mexico City-based daily El Universal reported.
Around 3 p.m. Matamoros police received an anonymous call saying a severely beaten man was outside the offices of the Red Cross. According to local reports, Arratia had been tortured before being dumped from a moving vehicle. The columnist had his fingers broken, his skull fractured, his palms burned, and his chest injured. Arratia was taken to a nearby hospital and died moments later of a heart attack.
On September 24, Tamaulipas police arrested Raúl Castelán Cruz in Matamoros. At the time of his arrest, police said, Castelán was armed with an AR-15 automatic weapon with a telescopic sight, a 9mm pistol, handcuffs, more than 90 cartridges, and three cellular phones, according to state prosecutors. Investigators said that Castelán was caught through the use of Arratia's cellular phone.
In his statement to state authorities, Castelán confessed to participating in the killing of Arratia, according to Roberto Maldonado Siller, the regional delegate of the Tamaulipas state attorney's office. Castelán also said the murder was motivated by Arratia's journalistic work, according to Maldonado Siller.
On September 30, federal authorities office began investigating other aspects of the crime, including drug trafficking and weapons possession. A federal court in the state of Mexico formally charged Castelán with weapons possession on October 12. The suspect, who is being held at Mexico's top-security La Palma prison west of Mexico City, was formally accused of Arratia's murder on December 27. An accomplice was at large.
Amid harassment and violence against journalists, human rights activists, and judges involved in high-profile cases, Guatemala's political stability deteriorated considerably in 2001, and press freedom along with it. The administration of President Alfonso Portillo Cabrera, a member of the right-wing Guatemalan Republican Front (FRG), showed little tolerance for criticism of any kind.
Nueva York, 3 de enero de 2002 -- Un total de 37 periodistas fueron asesinados en todo el mundo como resultado directo de su labor en el 2001, un brusco incremento en relación con el año 2000, cuando 24 fueron asesinados, según las investigaciones del Comité para la Protección de los Periodistas (CPJ, por sus siglas en inglés). Por lo menos 25 de ellos fueron asesinados, casi todos con impunidad.
El dramático aumento se debe principalmente a la guerra en Afganistán, donde ocho periodistas murieron cumpliendo su deber al cubrir la campaña militar encabezada por los Estados Unidos, y un noveno periodista murió de heridas que recibió en ese país hace dos años. Este es el mayor saldo de víctimas que se haya registrado en un solo país desde 1999, cuando 10 periodistas fueron asesinados en Sierra Leona.
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