• Campagnes

Mexico: Fear for safety / torture

, N° d'index: AMR 41/086/1997

Rene Solorio, Ernesto Madrid and Gerardo Segura, journalists: On 13 September 1997, the three high-profile journalists above-named were abducted, tortured and threatened with death if they continued reporting on the corruption and human rights violations carried out by members of the Federal District's Public Security and the Judicial Police.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 41/86/97
UA 301/97 Fear for Safety/Torture 17 September 1997
MEXICORené SOLORIO, journalist
Ernesto MADRID, journalist
Gerardo SEGURA, journalist
High-Profile News Reporters Tortured in Mexico City
Three high-profile Mexico City news reporters have been abducted, tortured
and threatened with death.
On the night of 13 September, armed men abducted René Solorio, news reporter
for TV Azteca, one of Mexico’s leading television channels. The men drove Solorio
around while they tortured him. On several occasions, Solorio was dragged out
of the car, forced to kneel down, while gun shots were fired over his head
in a mock execution style. Before his release on 13 September, he was threatened
with death if he continued reporting on the corruption and human rights
violations carried out by members of the Policía de Seguridad Pública and Policía
Judicial del Distrito Federal, Federal District’s Public Security and the
Judicial Police.
Ernesto Madrid, also a reporter for TV Azteca, went through a similar ordeal
on the night of 13 September. A group of policemen abducted and tortured him
before threatening him on the same lines as his colleague. He was released
in the early hours of 14 September. Ernesto Madrid had also been covering police
involvement in corruption and human rights violations.
Gerardo Segura, news reporter of TV Azteca, suffered the same fate on 13
September, and was also threatened with death.
The three journalists were also told to tell their news-director to stop
broadcasting information about police corruption and human rights violations.
To date, no one has been brought to justice.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The police forces in Mexico City are presently under military command, allegedly
to improve their efficiency. They have been increasingly accused of perpetrating
human rights violations while purporting to combat crime. There have also been
growing accusations that the police itself is involved in organized crime,
as acknowledged last August by the governmental Federal District’s Human Rights
Commission.
On 8 September, Juan Carlos Romero Peralta (17), Daniel Colín Enciso and Miguel
Angel Leal Alonso were abducted, together with three other unidentified
individuals, in front of several witnesses, including relatives, by members
of a special unit of the Federal District’s Public Security Police called
Jaguares. Their tortured bodies were discovered on 9 September. The other
individuals remain “disappeared”. René Solorio and Ernesto Madrid were
investigating this case, as well as other abuses by the police.
Amnesty International has documented an alarming increase in threats, attacks
and execution of journalists in Mexico. The organization fears that the
prevailing climate of human rights violations against journalists may lead
to a dangerous self-imposed censorship in a country which otherwise hails itself
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as respectful of the freedom of press. Unless the Mexican Government adopts
urgent measures to effectively protect all journalists, and stops the impunity
enjoyed by the perpetrators of such crimes, the country will be seriously failing
its obligations and commitments towards freedom of the press and full respect
of human rights.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Spanish or your own language:
- expressing alarm about the abductions, torture and death threats suffered
by René Osorio, Ernesto Madrid and Gerardo Segura between 12 and 13 September
in Mexico City, by men believed to be members of the city’s police, and calling
for a full and prompt investigation bringing all those responsible to justice;
- expressing concern that the above-mentioned journalists appear to have been
targeted for their reporting on corruption and gross human rights violations
by the Federal District’s police, including the extrajudicial execution of
at least three people on 8 September, and urgently calling on the government
to ensure their full protection;
- conveying Amnesty International’s concern about the growing pattern of
threats, attacks and gross human rights violations suffered by journalists
in Mexico, and calling for immediate and effective measures to stop this trend,
politely requesting to be kept informed about the measures adopted.
APPEALS TO:
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
Faxes: (+ 52 5) 515 1794 / 542 1648 (voice line: ask "me puede dar tono de
fax, por favor")
Salutation: Sr. Presidente / Dear President
COPIES TO:
1) Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal
Av. Chapúltepec 49
Col. Centro
México D.F.
Fax: + 52 5 578 25 78
2) Centro de Derechos Humanos
"Miguel Augustín Pro Juárez" A.C.
Puebla No. 153
Col. Roma, 06700
México D.F. MEXICO
Fax: + 52 5 208 75 47
3) Fraternidad de Periodistas
Avenida Juárez 88
Despacho 311
Mexico D.F., MEXICO
Fax: + 52 5 671 9484
4) Rapporteurs Sans Frontiers (international NGO)
5, rue Geoffroy Marie, 75009 Paris (France)
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Fax: + 33 1 45231151
E-mail: rsf@calvanet.calvacom.fr
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 29 October 1997.

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