16, Number 1
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Journalist kidnapped in Sinaloa state was tortured and shot
by Reporters Without Borders
Radio journalist José Luis Romero’s body was found on 16 January alongside the road from Los Mochis to El Fuerte, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, just over two weeks after gunmen grabbed him while he was out shopping in Los Mochis on 30 December and bundled him into a pickup.
Sinaloa state judicial officials said Romero, 40, journalist of Linea Directa, was tortured and then shot in the head. He may have been murdered the same day as his abduction as they said he had been dead for about two weeks when the body was found. He worked for Linea Directa radio.
The state officials said his death bore all the hallmarks of an organized crime killing and that the case would be transferred to Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR). The day before the body’s discovery, an anonymous message told the authorities to look in a different location, known as Plan del Rio, and named various gang members as his killers.
The discovery of Romero’s body brings the number of journalists murdered in Mexico since 2000 to 60 and the number murdered since the start of the year to two (see 8 January release). A total of nine journalists are still missing in abductions that have taken place since 2003.
Mexico was ranked 137th out of 175 countries in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
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