Mexican journalist released 20 days after kidnapping

Radio journalist Bernardo Javier Cano Torres of Iguala has been released after being held by kidnappers for 20 days, according to local media reports.

On the morning of May 7, Cano and three other people were abducted from a van while travelling on the Iguala-Teloloapan highway.

Cano, who also worked for a pharmaceutical company, was on his way to deliver medication. He was stopped in Iguala near a military checkpoint, according to Sin Embargo.

On May 8, the Office of the Special Rapporteur for the Organization of the American States called for Mexican authorities to investigate the kidnapping and locate Cano.

The organization also urged officials to determine whether the federal government should be involved in investigations. A federal law establishing the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists was passed in 2012, but international organizations have questioned its efficacy.

The Attorney General of Guerrero had opened an investigation into Cano’s case.

Cano was released the night of May 27 after family members paid a ransom, according to Sin Embargo.

Cano hosts the program Hora Cero on ABC radio in Iguala, the same city from which 43 students from a teacher’s college in Ayotzinapa were disappeared in September 2014.

The kidnapping and disappearance of the Ayotzinapa students led to mass protests in Mexico and around the world, as well as the implication and arrest of city and police officials. During investigation of the disappearances, multiple unrelated mass graves were uncovered in the area.

A co-host of Hora Cero told Reporters Without Borders that he had received threats from a brother of former Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca, according to the organization. Abarca was charged with kidnapping in the case of the Ayotzinapa students.

Reports have not indicated whether Cano’s kidnapping was related to his work as a journalist.

Article 19 reported a total of 326 attacks on journalists and the media for 2014. Fourteen percent of these cases were classified as arbitrary detentions.

Additionally, Mexico ranks 7th on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2014 Global Impunity Index.

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.

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