Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 12/14


R 12/14





Washington D.C., February 14, 2014 – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, a reporter who covered police beats for Notisur and Liberal del Sur newspapers, whose body was found on February 11 in the municipality of Las Choapas, state of Veracruz, Mexico. The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern and urges the Mexican authorities to take urgent action to establish the motive of the crime and to activate all the legal instruments available to identify and punish the perpetrators behind this crime.


According to the information received, on February 5 a group of armed men kidnapped Jiménez de la Cruz when he returned home after dropping his children off at school, in the municipality of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. On February 11, Mexican authorities confirmed the discovery of three bodies in clandestine graves, one of which belonged to Jiménez de la Cruz. The journalist had been reporting on a series of kidnappings and disappearances in that locality. According to his family, Jiménez de la Cruz had received threats for publishing a story about crimes committed near a bar in the city.


The information received indicates that authorities from Veracruz have arrested at least five people, including the mastermind behind the murder. Although local authorities had indicated at first a personal vendetta as the main motive, the Office of the Special Public Prosecutor on Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) is investigating the case on the ground and exploring different lines of inquiry related to the exercise of his work. Freedom of expression organizations have observed that there is enough evidence that the crime could be related to his profession as a journalist. Violence against journalists in Veracruz has been of particular concern to this Office. The Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to thoroughly investigate the hypothesis that the crime could have been associated with the journalist’s work.


Principle 9 of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states: "[t]he murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation."


The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression was created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to encourage the defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression in the hemisphere, given the fundamental role this right plays in consolidating and developing the democratic system.