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Suspect in last week's murder in Chihuahua. Suspect in last week's murder in Chihuahua.

Attacks on journalists continue after murder

Incidents follow Chihuahua killing in which two suspects have been identified

There have been more attacks against journalists less than a week after the assassination in Chihuahua of Miroslava Breach Velducea.

Early yesterday morning, Armando Arrieta Granados suffered three bullet wounds as he arrived at his Poza Rica, Veracruz, home.

The senior journalist from La Opinión de Poza Rica was transferred to hospital, where his condition was reported as serious.

The State Commission for the Assistance and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP) said it has coordinated its efforts with the state’s Public Security Secretariat in order to guarantee the safety of Arrieta and his relatives.

The founder and owner of Arrieta’s newspaper was murdered in 2005.

On Tuesday in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, an attack on online journalist Julio Omar Gómez Sánchez took the life of his bodyguard after he was hit at least five times in gunfire. Gómez Sánchez was unhurt.

Alfredo de la Cruz had been assigned as Gómez’ bodyguard by the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), part of the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR).

Gómez, a former coordinator of the Civil Protection office of Cabo San Lucas, posts news on his website, Noticias 911, and on Facebook, reporting on state events, including murders and other violence.

Two of his vehicles were set on fire in December and February.

A third incident took place yesterday morning when three journalists working for the news agency Al Jazeera left their hotel in Culiacán, Sinaloa, to cover a story on farmworkers in Villa Juárez, a community in the municipality of Novolato.

After they stopped in their rented vehicle at a convenience store, the journalists — a man from Mexico, another from the United Kingdom and a Spanish woman — were approached by three men carrying handguns, who asked them who they were and what was their business.

The three reporters were then taken in their own vehicle to a cornfield and abandoned, said the state’s deputy Attorney General.

Julio César Romanillo Montoya added that the three then walked to a health center where they were able to use a phone and report the incident.

The vehicle was later found abandoned, with the journalists’ belongings inside.

In the case of last Thursday’s murder of Chihuahua journalist Breach Velducea, Governor Javier Corral Jurado and state police director Oscar Paricio Avendaño said they were close to arresting two people believed responsible for the crime.

They said the two had been following their victim for at least a week to determine her daily schedule, and one was caught on security video shortly before the murder.

Corral confirmed that Breach had received threats, which she dismissed and didn’t report to the authorities, or to people close to her.

“She was a journalist who constantly documented the criminal organization and structure in Chihuahua, with an astonishing persistence and tenacity,” he added, declaring that Breach was murdered for doing her job.

The reporter’s stories for the newspaper La Jornada revealed political corruption and links between politicians and organized crime. Last November she wrote that César Duarte, who was governor at the time and is now considered a fugitive from corruption charges, operated a network of friends and family members to extract billions of pesos from the public treasury.

In just one year, she wrote, cabinet members ordered public works projects and other purchases worth 2.9 billion pesos directly from companies created expressly for the purpose of receiving the funds. They disappeared after the payments were made.

Source: Milenio (sp), Reforma (sp), Animal Político (sp), El Mexicano (sp), Sin Embargo (sp)

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