Mexican authorities declare cases of five killed journalists solved, despite lack of trial

With the arrest of two alleged Mexican drug lords, the Veracruz Attorney General declared that the cases of five killed journalists were solved, but the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and the organization Article 19, questioned the state government's way of trying to close the investigations, according to CNN México.

Attorney General Amadeo Flores said that the organization solved 36 homicide cases, among them, those of five killed journalists in Veracruz after the arrest of two alleged leaders of the cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación: Isaías Pineda, aka “The Cronos,” and Juan Carlos Hernández Pulido, aka “The Bertha,” according to the station Televisa. The "Bertha" held the credit cards and ID of a killed newspaper employee, who was murdered along with photographers Guillermo Luna, Gabriel Huge, and Esteban Rodríguez.

In a press conference, the attorney said that the five killed journalists were responsible for the killing of other colleagues, since they allegedly collaborated with the criminal organization of Los Zetas, according to the newspaper El Informador.

"In Mexico, it is a common pattern for the government to blame the journalist and make him responsible for his own death," said Mike O´Connor, from CPJ, to CNNMéxico.

According to the attorney, the crime against the reporter for the newspaper Milenio, Víctor Manel Báez Chino, killed on June 14, was also solved when the Mexican army confronted members of Los Zetas in the city of Xalapa, according to the magazine Proceso. The killers were identified as Juan del Ángel Torres and Daniel Reynoso Hernández.

Artícle 19 said in a press release that the Veracruz authorities are only trying to “impress public opinion” with this announcement, while making a group of people responsible for the killings without submitting them to a full trial.

In an interview with the radio station Radio Fórmula, Darío Ramírez, from Artícle 19, said that the authorities still didn't bring “The Bertha” before the Prosecutor for Care of Crimes against Freedom of Expression to determine if the suspect was really involved with the killing of the journalists.

Veracruz is one of the 10 most dangerous places for the press in the world, according to the organization Reporters Without Borders, and is located on the Gulf of Mexico coast, the most dangerous country for the press in the American continent.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.