Journalist tortured, killed in Mexico

2012-05-19 09:16

Mexico City - The tortured body of a Mexican police reporter was found on the side of a road in the northern state of Sonora on Friday, a day after he was kidnapped by gunmen while waiting at a car wash, authorities said.

Marco Antonio Avila Garcia's body was found inside a black plastic bag near the city of Empalme, about 110 kilometres south of Ciudad Obregon, where he was abducted, said Sonora state prosecutors' spokesperson Jose Larrinaga.

Larrinaga said police also found a message signed by a cartel, but he wouldn't reveal the message's content.

The 39-year-old reporter often wrote about organised crime for the sister newspapers Diario Sonora de la Tarde and El Regional of Ciudad Obregon, said Larrinaga.

Avila was snatched and forced into a pickup truck on Thursday by three masked gunmen as he waited for a company car to be washed in Ciudad Obregon.

Eduardo Flores, director of the newspapers, told The Associated Press that Avila wrote about drug trafficking but never mentioned cartels by name nor did investigative pieces.

"He wrote about drug trafficking, but nothing involved" about it, Flores said. "He wasn't allowed to cover anything that would be considered aggressive by criminal groups."

Flores said Avila was among the most experienced police reporters on his staff. The journalist never mentioned receiving threats or being afraid of covering the police beat. No threats had been received by the newspapers, he added.

The reporter was married and had three small children. He worked at night and during the day was going to university. He recently graduated with a degree in chemistry, Flores said.

Mexico has become one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists in recent years, with media workers disproportionately targeted as a government offensive against drug cartels and rivalry among crime gangs have resulted in tens of thousands of killings, kidnappings and extortion cases.

Last week, gunmen opened fire on the offices of the El Manana newspaper in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. The week before, police found the mutilated bodies of three photojournalists inside plastic bags dumped in a canal in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

Prosecutions in journalist killings are rarely carried out, which is generally the case with most homicides and other serious crimes in Mexico.

Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights says 79 journalists were killed between 2000 and 2011. In addition, it said 14 of them have disappeared. Other press freedom groups differ with that number.

  • Gieljam - 2012-05-19 09:31

    I think its time America starts looking at ways to counter what is happening on their doorstep instead of wasting time on those far across the sea....

  • Deana - 2012-05-19 09:54

    My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones! Try to find comfort in that he died bravely doing God's work and will get his reward in Heaven. Remember him as he was in life and not in the tortuous way he lost his life. Mom, tell your children how proud they can be of their daddy! As for the f@ckers who tortured and killed him- may fate bestow the same on you all.

      Gemma van der Merwe - 2012-05-19 11:21

      Where did you read that he was doing god's work? You people are so narrowminded

      Deana - 2012-05-19 12:56

      Gemma- according to my \narrow mind\- anyone opposing evil in this world, like the journalist killed for writing\r\ng about drug cartels, is doing God's work.

  • Carlito - 2012-05-19 09:59

    Geez Mexico is almost like SA but with the drug wars and cartels. The US will a third world country since thousands of Mexicans are streaming into their Southern States and having larger families.

      victor.ejike.5 - 2012-05-19 13:05

      Mexico is very much more advanced than south africa in every aspect of life

  • Phillip - 2012-05-19 11:08

    Corrupt governments employ corrupt ministers. Corrupt ministers employ corrupt cops. Corrupt cops are given free reign, in return for selective policing and application of the law. The road to anarchy has been laid smooth. Hmmm, now where have I...

  • gouws2 - 2012-05-19 16:31

    its Iike I00king int0 the future 0f 0ur c0untry

  • Gerda - 2012-05-19 19:28

    will definitely never holiday in Mexico. They might not like my face and just for that reason will put me in an plastic bag.....

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