Mexico: Press freedom organizations demand reopening of Regina Martínez investigation

Amsterdam, March 17, 2021 – A new report on the murder of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez finds strong indications for obstruction of justice by local authorities. Leading press freedom organizations now call on Mexican federal authorities to re-open and attract the case and bring the killers to justice.

The report “The Murder of Regina Martínez Pérez: an Opportunity for Justice” was published as part of A Safer World For The Truth, an initiative by Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Regina Martínez was murdered in the Mexican state of Veracruz in 2012, when Veracruz was at the forefront of Mexico’s many drug wars. After the murder, the Veracruz state prosecutor’s office investigated the case, leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect.  

This report documents a series of serious anomalies in the official investigation conducted by the Veracruz authorities. Specifically, the report finds that the main suspect for the murder has been convicted on the basis of a confession that was obtained under torture. Furthermore, the report presents several witness statements that severely challenge the official murder theory. Finally, the report finds indications that Martínez was murdered for a specific publication related to a political affair.

The report concludes that the investigation into the murder of Regina Martínez was compromised at the state level. It records strong indications of obstruction of justice by investigators acting under the authority of the State Attorney General of Veracruz.  

Given these findings, press freedom organizations are calling on Mexico’s Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) to take over jurisdiction of the case of Regina Martínez to make progress with the investigation.  

Leon Willems, Director at Free Press Unlimited (FPU), states:

“Killing a journalist is the world’s safest crime: in nine out of ten cases the killer goes free. To break the cycle of impunity, Mexican authorities must step up their efforts to ensure justice for Regina Martínez.”

Joel Simon, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), states:

“Mexico has long been one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work. Mexican authorities must do their utmost to address impunity and bring those who kill journalists to justice. Reopening the case of Regina Martínez is an important step to doing just that.”

Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), states:

“Regina Martínez was a brave journalist, who died for telling the truth. Her murder must be resolved, and justice must be achieved.”

Mexico is the most dangerous country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere. According to research by CPJ, at least five journalists were murdered in direct relation to their work in 2020. Veracruz has long been the deadliest state in the country for the press, with at least 21 journalists murdered there between 2011 and 2020.

The report “The Murder of Regina Martínez Perez: an Opportunity for Justice” was published as part of A Safer World For The Truth, an initiative by Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), to pursue justice for murdered journalists worldwide. The report is the first in a series of investigations into unsolved murders of journalists worldwide.

The full investigation and its recommendations can be found here.

About the organizations:

Free Press Unlimited (FPU): Free Press Unlimited is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Free Press Unlimited helps local journalists in conflict areas to provide their audience with independent news and reliable information. The information that people need to survive and give shape to their own future. –

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent nonprofit, non-governmental organization, based in New York City, USA with correspondents around the world. CPJ promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists. –

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is an independent NGO based in Paris, France. Its foreign sections, its bureau in ten cities, including Brussels, Washington, Berlin, Tunis, Rio de Janeiro, and Stockholm, and its network of correspondents in 130 countries give RSF the ability to mobilize support, challenge governments and wield influence both on the ground and in the ministries and precincts where media and Internet standards and legislation are drafted. –