For the second time in less
than a month, the lead federal investigator in the case of a journalist
murdered in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, has been shot and killed in the streets of
that city, according to news accounts. The second investigator, Pablo Pasillas
Fong, was shot 13 times on August 26, according to the reports.
In addition, today, the head of
the office in charge of investigating the journalist's murder resigned his
position and left the city "for security reasons," according the Ciudad Juarez
newspaper El Diario, which cited unnamed
Pasillas had replaced
investigator Jose Ibarra Limón, who
was murdered on a street corner near his home on July 27, according to
federal authorities. Local press reports said that Pasillas had been an aide to
Ibarra but took over the murder case of well-known police reporter Armando
Rodríguez after Ibarra was killed.
who worked for El Diario, was
killed in front of his daughter in November 2008 as he was about to take her to
The case has been emblematic of
for journalists in Ciudad Juárez, where journalists say organized crime
groups routinely threaten reporters who write stories that might expose their
operations--including drug dealing, extortion, and bribery. In reaction to the
threats, especially after Rodríguez's murder, most journalists in Ciudad Juárez
say they write only the most superficial stories about organized crime.
Further increasing the aura of
danger is the near-total impunity in murder cases. According to news reports,
only a tiny percentage of cases are solved, even when the victim is a police
As a matter of security,
Ibarra, the investigator killed in July, worked in a compound surrounded by
thick walls approximately 10 feet high and guarded by many men with assault
rifles. Ibarra also was responsible for several sensitive cases involving
organized crime in addition the Rodríguez case, according to federal officials
Senior federal officials
insisted they gave Ibarra their fullest support, however they admitted to CPJ that
the Rodríguez case has gone cold and that in the last six months or more they
have run out of leads.
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