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Mexico: fear for safety

, Index number: AMR 41/007/1996

Ninfa Deandar (f), and her family, newspaper owners, Raymundo Ramos, journalist, Jesus Lopez Tapia, editor: the above, all associated with the independent daily newspaper, El Manana de Nuevo Laredo, have received anonymous threats, apparently as a result of reporting alleged local government corruption.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 41/07/96
UA 42/96 Fear for safety 21 February 1996
MEXICONinfa Deandar (f), and her family, newspaper owners
Raymundo Ramos, journalist
Jesús López Tapia, editor
The people named above, all associated with the independent daily newspaper,
El Mañana de Nuevo Laredo, in Tamaulipas State, have received anonymous threats,
apparently as a result of the paper's reporting of alleged local government
corruption. The paper has named the Governor of the State in connection with
recent incidents of corruption and drug-trafficking.
On 2 February 1996 Ninfa Deandar and her family, owners of the paper, reportedly
received telephone death threats at her home. The caller stated that Ninfa
would be killed with a single shot to the forehead, and also threatened harm
to her four sons, three of whom work on the paper. On 20 February, at Nuevo
Laredo town hall, unknown people distributed a leaflet carrying a photo of
Ninfa Deandar, and stating that she was the "mercenaria, gangster and prostituta
del periodismo", "mercenary, gangster and prostitute of journalism".
On 13 February Raymundo Ramos, a reporter for the paper, reportedly received
an anonymous call, in which the caller said that he wanted to meet with Raymundo
to give him a warning (una advertencia). As he was leaving the offices of
the newspaper later that day, Raymundo Ramos was forced into a car by two men
and driven around for two hours, during which time he was warned to stop writing
articles about the Governor of Tamaulipas.
On 27 December 1995 Jesús pez Tapia, editor of the paper, had also received
threats over the phone.
The paper has denounced the incidents to the press and non-governmental
organizations. It has also made an official complaint to President Ernesto
Zedillo and the Minister of Interior Emilio Chuayffet Chemor, so far without
response.
El Mañana de Nuevo Laredo has suffered threats and violence against it before:
in 1976, a son of Ninfa Deandar was killed in unknown circumstances and its
editor was killed in a bomb explosion at its offices.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The harassment of government critics and human rights monitors is one of Amnesty
International's main concerns in Mexico at present. 1996 has seen a huge
increase in harassment against human rights defenders, most of whom are being
targeted for their work in behalf of the community (for example, see UA 37/96,
AMR 41/06/96, 15 February 1996; UA 27/96, AMR 41/04/96, 2 February; UA 12/96,
AMR 41/02/96, 22 January; and UA 09/96, AMR 41/01/96, 16 January).
Amnesty International has recorded a long-term pattern of harassment and threats
related to professional groups such as journalists, lawyers, church members
(for example see UA 203/95, AMR 41/19/95, 18 August 1995 and update AMR 41/28/95,
6 October).
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
2
- calling for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the recent
threats and harassment against Raymundo Ramos, Ninfa Deandar and her family,
and Jesús López Tapia, in the context of El Mañana de Nuevo Laredo's denunciation
of alleged local government corruption, and to bring to justice those
responsible for them;
- calling for immediate steps to guarantee the physical safety of those
threatened; requesting to be kept informed of any relevant developments in
this case;
- expressing concern that such threats fall within a pattern of harassment
and intimidation of human rights monitors who have publicly denounced abuses
by government authorities.
APPEALS TO:
1) President of the Republic
Lic. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
Presidente de la República
Palacio Nacional
06067 México D.F., MEXICO
Telegrams: Presidente Zedillo, México D.F., México
Telexes: 170937 sppnme; 1774468 sppnme
Faxes: + 52 5 271 1764
Salutation: Sr. Presidente / Dear President
2) Minister of the Interior
Lic. Emilio Chuayffet Chemor
Secretario de la Gobernación
Secretaría de la Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er piso
Col. Juárez
06699 México DF, MEXICO
Telegrams: Secretario Gobernación, Mexico DF, Mexico
Salutation: Sr. Secretario / Dear Minister
3) State Governor
Lic. Manuel Cavazos Lerma
Gobernador del Estado de Tamaulipas
Palacio de Gobierno
Ciudad Victoria
Tamaulipas, MEXICO
Telegrams:Gobernador de Tamaulipas, México D.F., México
Faxes: + 52 131 25732
Salutation: Sr. Gobernador/Dear Governor
COPIES TO:
1) Daily newspaper
Sr. Editor
La Jornada
Balderas 68
06050 México D.F., MEXICO
2) Daily newspaper
Sr.Editor
La Mañana de Nuevo Laredo
Perú 2104 y Juárez
3
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
MEXICO
3) Human rights organization
Srs. Centro de estudios fronterizos y
de promoción de los Derechos Humanos, A.C.
Zaragoza 650, 1er piso, despacho N#4
Ciudad Reynosa, Col Centro
88500 Tamaulipas
MEXICO
and to diplomatic representatives of MEXICO accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 15 April 1996.

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