Mexican journalist says her arrest was an attack on freedom of expression

Mexican journalist Sanjuana Martínez reported authority abuse after she was arrested at her home on Thursday, July 5, in the city of Monterrey, according to her blog post.

Martínez wrote a report in 2009 about alleged abuses of authority by Judge Luz María Guerrero Delgado de Leija, the same judge who ordered her arrest, reported the newspaper La Jornada. The journalist said her arrest was a type of revenge on the part of the judge, because on the eve of her arrest, she published about alleged corruption and irregularities made by the same judge, according to Reporters Without Borders. The report accused the judge of ordering a raid at "Alternativas Pacificas," a shelter for physically abused women, and taking in two minors.

Martínez, a freelance journalist who writes for the newspaper La Jornada and the magazine Proceso, filed a complaint with the Human Rights State Commission, as she considers her arrest an attack on freedom of expression, according to the newspaper El Universal. The journalist was let go after 24 hours in prison on the afternoon of Friday, July 6, according to the newspaper El Informador. The journalist also reported that authorities never presented a warrant at the moment of her arrest, nor did they grant her the right to bail for an administrative offense related to her divorce case with Spanish judge Carlos Castresana, according to the news agency CIMAC.

“The great police display, lead by judge Guerrero Delgado de Leija, was done with a lot of violence, with large weapons, as if I were a drug lord or a member of organized crime," said the Mexican reporter.

Sanjuana Martínez is a reporter that publishes critiques about abuses that happened during the war against drug trafficking in Mexico and was awarded the National Journalism Award of Mexico in 2006 and the Ortega y Gasset of Spain award in 2008, according to the news agency EFE.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for practicing journalism and the majority of attacks against the press are perpetrated by the police, or military, according to the organization Article 19. See this map about attacks against the press in Mexico, made by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

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.