Mexico City, April 24, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists today welcomed the arrest of a suspect in the murder case of Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas. At a press conference today, police named the alleged accomplice to the 2017 murder as 26-year-old Heriberto ‘N’, alias “El Koala,” and said that Valdez was killed for his reporting. His arrest was announced by Mexico’s Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete on Twitter yesterday.
“The arrest of a suspect in the murder of Javier Valdez Cárdenas is a welcome step, but we urge the Mexican authorities to identify all those responsible for the killing, including the mastermind,” said CPJ Mexico Representative Jan-Albert Hootsen. “Too often, investigations into the murders of Mexican journalists stall after low-level suspects have been arrested, which allows impunity to thrive.”
Valdez, a 2011 recipient of CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award, was killed on May 15, 2017, in Culiacán, the capital of Sinaloa state, according to CPJ research. Mexico is one of the deadliest countries in the Western Hemisphere for journalists. Mexico ranked sixth on CPJ’s most recent Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free.