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 López 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
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.
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,
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