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MEXICO - Journalist found dead 24 hours after being reported missing

Monday 14 May 2012 - 1:00am

RAN 25/12 14 May 2012

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is appalled by the news that another Mexican journalist has been found dead in suspicious circumstances. René Orta Salgado, a former reporter for El Sol de Cuernavaca, was found dead in the boot of his car on 13 May 2012. A scarf has been taped over his face using industrial adhesive tape. The WiPC calls on the Mexican authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into Orta’s death, and to bring those responsible to justice.

René Orta Salgado, 43, was a political activist and journalist with 20 years’ experience. He was reported missing by his family on 12 May 2012; his body was discovered in Cuernavaca, Morelos State, 24 hours later.

Early reports say that Orta’s body showed no signs of gun shot wounds and that the exact cause of his death has yet to be declared. According to the Mexican authorities, Orta had not received any death threats previously. The Morelos State Attorney’s Office will be carrying out the investigation into his death.

Orta was a vocal supporter of PRI (the Institutional Revolutionary Party). In December 2011 he set up Emprendedores Por la Nación (EPN), a political group supporting Enrique Peña Nieto, the PRI candidate in the upcoming presidential elections.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to practise journalism. Since December 2006, at least 42 print journalists and writers have been killed. Five had been murdered in the last 6 weeks. The vast majority of these crimes are investigated at state level. They are rarely investigated thoroughly and there have been very few convictions.

In March 2012, the Mexican Senate passed an amendment that would make all attacks on journalists federal crimes. This represented a crucial step towards tackling the problem of impunity in Mexico, as the federal authorities are considered less susceptible to the corruption that plagues local authorities in individual states.

The amendment needs to be ratified by 17 states for it to become law. Morelos, the state in which Orta was found dead, is one of ten states which have already ratified the amendment.

Please send appeals:

Calling for a full and impartial investigation into the death of journalist and political activist René Orta Salgado;
Urging that Orta’s work and activism be considered as possible motives for his death.

Appeals to:

Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: (+ 52 55) 5093 4901/ 5277 2376
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

Attorney General of the Republic
Lic. Marisela Morelos Ibáñez
Procuradora General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Tel: + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
Salutation: Señora Procuradora General/Dear Attorney General

Governor of the State of Morelos
Mtro. Marco Antonio Adame Castillo
Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Morelos
Palacio de Gobierno, 1er. Piso,
Centro, 62000, Cuernavaca, Morelos,

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.

***Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 12 July 2012.***

For further details please contact Cathal Sheerin at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: PEN International, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: