NGOs present report on killing of Mexican journalist Gregorio Jiménez

By Diego Cruz

A joint mission composed by members of several international and Mexican press freedom organizations reported on March 19 the results of their recent visit to Veracruz to investigate the killing of journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, according to digital newspaper Terra.

After speaking with approximately 60 colleagues, employers, friends and family members of Jiménez, the group concluded the Notisur and Liberal del Sur reporter was killed as a result of his journalistic work.

The mission included representatives of the Red de Periodistas de a Pie, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the Casa de los Derechos de Periodistas.

Elia Baltazar of the Red de Periodistas de a Pie criticized Veracruz authorities for attributing the crime to personal vengeance after only six days of investigating and not considering the importance of Jiménez’s professional work, which included reporting on kidnappings and aggressions against migrants.

Baltazar also said the authorities took 40 minutes to arrive at the reporter’s home after his kidnapping, despite there being a police outpost only 800 meters away, which she considered one of the “inconsistencies” in the case.

The journalist María Idalia Gómez from the IAPA also denounced “serious gaps” in the official investigation that could result in the release of the suspects arrested for the killing, according to Animal Político.

These included the lack of documentation regarding interrogations (to verify that confessions were not obtained under torture), the lack of search warrants to enter the site where Jiménez was held and later the pit where his body was found, and the lack of results on fingerprint testing.

“How did the authorities find the suspects? By magic,” said Gómez, adding that the lack of information regarding how the investigation was carried out, the finding of the bodies and the arrest of the suspects could result in the crime remaining unpunished.

As a result of this, the group concluded the case should not be considered closed because of all that was left to investigate.

As part of their report, the mission presented 17 recommendations, including that Jiménez’s killing be linked to his journalistic work, that Veracruz authorities fix the gaps in their investigation, that Jiménez’s family receive economic aid organized by the newspapers he worked for, and that the case be investigated by the Attorney General of Mexico’s Special Prosecutor’s office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE).

Gregorio Jiménez, who was kidnapped by an armed group on Feb. 5 and found dead in a pit located in the Veracruz municipality of Las Choapas on Feb. 11, was only paid 20 pesos per article by Notisur and 50 pesos by Liberal del Sur, according to the report.

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.