Mexico: Press freedom organisations demand re-opening of Regina Martínez investigation
A new report on the murder of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez finds strong indications for obstruction of justice by local authorities. Leading press freedom organisations Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) now call on Mexican federal authorities to re-open and attract the case and bring the killers to justice.
Regina Martínez was murdered in the Mexican state of Veracruz in 2012, when Veracruz was at the forefront of Mexico’s many drug wars. After the murder, the Veracruz state prosecutor’s office investigated the case, leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect.
The report “The Murder of Regina Martínez Perez: an Opportunity for Justice” published by FPU, RSF and CPJ documents a series of serious anomalies in the official investigation conducted by the Veracruz authorities. Specifically, the report finds that the main suspect for the murder has been convicted on the basis of a confession that was obtained under torture. Furthermore, the report presents several witness statements that severely challenge the official murder theory. Finally, the report finds indications that Martínez was murdered for a specific publication related to a political affair.
The report concludes that the investigation into the murder of Regina Martínez was compromised at the state level. It records strong indications of obstruction of justice by investigators acting under the authority of the State Attorney General of Veracruz.
Given these findings, press freedom organisations are calling on Mexico’s Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) to take over jurisdiction of the case of Regina Martínez in order to make progress with the investigation.
“Regina Martínez was a brave journalist, who died for telling the truth. Her murder must be resolved and justice must be achieved”, states Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
“Killing a journalist is the world’s safest crime: in nine out of ten cases the killer goes free. To break the cycle of impunity, Mexican authorities must step up their efforts to ensure justice for Regina Martínez”, states Leon Willems, Director at Free Press Unlimited (FPU) .
“Mexico has long been one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work. Mexican authorities must do their utmost to address impunity, and bring those who kill journalists to justice. Reopening the case of Regina Martínez is an important step to doing just that”, said Joel Simon, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Mexico is the most dangerous country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere. According to research by CPJ, at least five journalists were murdered in direct relation to their work in 2020. Veracruz has long been the deadliest state in the country for the press, with at least 21 journalists murdered there between 2011 and 2020.
The report “The Murder of Regina Martínez Perez: an Opportunity for Justice” was published as part of A Safer World For The Truth, an initiative by Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), to pursue justice for murdered journalists worldwide. The report is the first in a series of investigations into unsolved murders of journalists worldwide. The full investigation and its recommendations can be found at https://www.saferworldforthetruth.com/investigations.
Mexico is ranked 143rd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.