SEPTEMBER 5, 2006
Posted: September 21, 2006
Eugenia Cicero, PM
Jaime Murrieta Briones, El Diario
Aurelio Suárez Núñez, PM
Reporter Cicero and photographer Suárez, of the Ciudad de Juárez-based daily PM, and Murrieta, a photographer for the local daily El Diario, were attacked while trying to photograph a group of at least 20 armed men who were drinking alcohol on the street in Ciudad de Juárez in northern Chihuahua province. The men beat Suárez and Murrieta severely, and fired guns at the journalists’ vehicles.
At around 12:30 p.m., Cicero and Suárez drove to a street where several individuals had gathered, after an unidentified caller complained to PM’s newsroom about a group of men, including members the local authorities, who were drinking on the street, the local press reported. Suárez told local reporters that he took a photograph and drove away.
Murrieta, who also received an anonymous telephone call, arrived at the site a few minutes later. He took several pictures of the crowd before a group of unidentified individuals surrounded his car and pulled him out, reported El Diario. The attackers hit Murrieta on the head and face with gun handles and continued to kick him when he fell to the ground. According to El Diario, the aggressors then fired shots at Murrieta’s car.
The attackers followed Cicero and Suárez and intercepted their car a few blocks away. Cicero, who was pregnant, asked the assailants not to hurt her, while they beat Suárez unconscious with their gun handles, according to the Mexican press. The assailants fired several gunshots at Suárez’ vehicle and fled the scene, said El Diario.
The three journalists were taken to the local hospital Poliplaza Médica, where Suárez and Murrieta were treated for their injuries and Cicero was put under observation.
On September 8, Chihuahua State Prosecutor Patricia González Rodríguez said that state police officer, Abelardo Torres Vernal, had been arrested and five other police offers are wanted in connection with the attack, reported the Mexico City-based daily El Universal. However, Torres was released on bail on September 11, according to the Mexican press.