Proceso, RSF skeptical as confessed killer of Mexican journalist sentenced to 38 years in prison

A Mexican court sentenced the confessed killer of journalist Regina Martínez Pérez to 38 years and two months in prison, reported the newspaper El Universal. The court also ordered Jorge Antonio Hernández "El Silva" to pay $8,000 in reparations for the murder and aggrevated robbery, the newspaper added.

The magazine Proceso, where the slain journalist worked in the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, expressed its doubts about Hernández's trial and his confession. "We didn't believe them before and we don't believe them now that they have sentenced a man who cannot defend himself," the magazine said in a press release following news of the court's decision.

Proceso maintains that there are several inconsistencies in the homicide's investigation, including the fact that the finger prints found at the scene of the crime do not match El Silva's. He also claimed that Mexican authorities tortured him to secure his confession.

The magazine called the investigation a "trick" of the governor of Veracruz, considered one of the 10 most dangerous places for journalists, according to Reporters Without Borders. "[Gov.] Javier Duarte de Ochoa cannot hide the state's deterioration. The way his administration treated our colleague's case has confirmed our distrust," Proceso's statement added.

Reporters Without Borders noted that the decision builds on the controversy over an award honoring the governor's "efforts to guarantee freedom of expression." "More than this questionable award to governor Javier Duarte is needed to eclipse the problems of journalists in Veracruz state, which has become one of the epicentres of violence against media personnel,” the organization said, joining Proceso's call to solve the journalist's killing.

Pérez's body was found in the bathroom of her home with signs of beating and strangulation on April 28, 2012, in Veracruz. She practiced journalist for more than 30 years and covered topics related to security and politics.

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.