Sunday, April 14, 2024

Former mayor gets 8 years in murder of Chihuahua journalist

A former mayor has been handed an eight-year sentence in the killing of journalist Miroslava Breach in Chihuahua city in 2017.

Hugo Amed Schultz Alcaraz, the former mayor of Chínipas, Chihuahua, admitted to his role as an accessory to the murder. The sentence bars him from future political activity and the right to appeal, and obliges him to provide monetary compensation and a public apology. By accepting the terms, Schultz received a shorter jail term.

Breach was shot eight times in the head on March 23, 2017, after she wrote a series of reports on drug trafficking networks in the state. Former state leader of the National Action Party, José Luévano Rodríguez, and his former spokesman Alfredo Piñera, are still at liberty, despite allegedly directing cartel members to her.

It is thought that Luévano ordered Piñera to record the journalist as she was interrogated about her research. The audio recordings were then given to Schultz, who passed them onto the intellectual author Juan Carlos Moreno, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison last year.

Human rights organization Propuesta Cívica, which accompanied Breach’s family during the trail, said she was murdered for investigating narco-political and corruption networks and exposing the human rights violations of populations in the Sierra Tarahumara. “More than four years after her murder, we have achieved a second conviction against another person responsible,” it added.

In Schultz’s public apology, he stated the importance of Breach’s work as a journalist. “… I am very sorry that actions on my part contributed to her regrettable murder. I want to convey a message to Miroslava’s family in which I acknowledge that my contribution affected Miroslava’s rights and I regret the consequences that they resulted in. The absence of Miroslava Breach as a critical journalistic voice has undoubtedly affected the right of society to public information,” he said.

More than four years after the homicide there is still an arrest warrant pending for driver Jaciel “N” and at least one other suspected intellectual author of the murder. 

Mexico is the deadliest country in the world to be a journalist, according to Reporters Without Borders.

With reports from Milenio, El País and El Universal

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