Another reporter in Veracruz found murdered

New York, December 1, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists said today it was investigating whether the shooting death of Adolfo Sánchez Guzmán was related to his work as reporter for the Mexican news Web site Orizaba en Vivo.

The journalist’s body was found yesterday on the banks of the Blanco river near Mendoza, 74 miles (120 kilometers) from Xalapa, capital of the southeastern state of Veracruz. He had been shot twice in the back of the head, and had bruises and stab wounds to the chest, a police source in Mendoza told CPJ. Nearby lay the body of another man, César Martínez López, who had also been shot in the head, the source said.

On November 21, Roberto Marcos García, another local reporter, was found shot to death near the city of Veracruz. Five other journalists have been killed in Mexico this year. CPJ has confirmed that one of the five journalists was slain in connection with his reporting. It continues to investigate the killings of the others.

Sánchez, 31, left his home in Orizaba, just east of Mendoza, on November 28 with three people, said Rodolfo Mendoza, administrative director of Orizaba en Vivo. His car was found abandoned the next day.

The reporter’s family and colleagues do not know of any threats against him, Rodolfo Mendoza told CPJ. However, Martínez was reportedly involved in criminal activity including robbery, according to Mendoza and local press reports. Local prosecutor Emerito López Márquez was quoted by the Mexico City newspaper La Jornada as saying that Sánchez was investigating the activities of a local gang of thieves. Sánchez normally covered regional politics. Police have opened an investigation into the murder.

“We are saddened by the death of our colleague Adolfo Sánchez Guzmán, and express our condolences to his family and friends,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We are gravely concerned by the growing number of killings of Mexican journalists this year. Given this level of violence newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa needs to strengthen protection for journalists throughout Mexico and support efforts to bring their killers to justice.”