Suspected killer of Mexican reporter says he was tortured by authorities

The suspected killer of Mexican magazine reporter Regina Martínez claimed he was tortured into confessing to the crime and retracted his statement, reporters in Veracruz told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

At the end of October, the state prosecutor announced they had solved the killing of the reporter after arresting the suspect and named robbery as the motive behind the crime. Before, authorities in the Gulf state had suggested that the reporter was the victim of a crime of passion.

Jorge Carrasco, a Proceso reporter who investigated the killing of his colleague, said that authorities in Veracruz never conducted a forensic analysis of Martínez's reporting and only inquired about her personal life, according to an interview on the radio station Ibero.

When state authorities presented the suspect at a press conference the only evidence against him was his confession without any mention of other clues collected at the scene, like fingerprints and blood and DNA samples.

Several journalism organizations across Mexico demanded authorities in Veracruz release the evidence in the case that they used to rule out Regina Martínez's reporting as a possible motive.

"It makes it look as if the state is fabricating a murder case against the wrong people just to clear the books, while the guilty get away," wrote CPJ representative in Mexico Michael O'Connor. According to O'Connor, some journalists in Mexico have said that high-ranking political leaders had the most to gain from the death of the reporter.

One year before her murder, Martínez received threats after investigating alleged military abuses that resulted in the death of an indigenous woman, according to the human rights organization Cencos.

Veracruz is considered the most dangerous place for reporters in Mexico, where nine journalists have been killed since 2011 to date. International organizations have pressured the government of Veracruz to solve crimes against journalists. Meanwhile, the state Congress approved a constitutional reform bill to create a State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists, reported the newspaper Milenio.

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.