Freedom of Expression

Press Release R 10/15



R 10/15




Washington, D.C., February 11, 2015. – The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murderer of Mexican journalist José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, confirmed on Thursday 5 through a DNA test, and the attack against journalist Enrique Juárez Torres, director of Matamoros newspaper El Mañana, suffered on Wednesday 4, urging the authorities to act to protect him.


According to the information received, the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Republic [Procuraduría General de la República] confirmed that DNA tests made to the body found two weeks ago in Veracruz State showed that the remains were of journalist and activist José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, who had disappeared in early January. The Office of the Attorney General had informed that the dead body belonged to the journalist, owner of the local weekly newspaper La Unión, in Medellín de Bravo, but had not been identified by his family due to corps mutilation.


In January, the IACHR requested the Mexican State to adopt precautionary measures "to determine the situation and whereabouts of José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, with the purpose of safeguarding his life and personal integrity". Likewise, the IACHR requested the State to inform on the actions implemented to investigate these events.


Also, journalist Verónica Huerta, from Agencia Veracruzana de Noticias, received last week a death threat through a text message, saying she would be the next victim after Sánchez Cerezo.


Furthermore, according to El Mañana reports, two gunned men entered the paper’s newsroom and went to Enrique Juárez Torres’ office, where they attacked him and kidnapped him. Juárez Torres was forcibly put in a van, threatened to death and punched while the vehicle went round the city. He was released afterwards, the newspaper said.


Juárez Torres has fled from Matamoros city after the attack, according to information received.

Matamoros is very close to the United States and El Mañana had published news on violent acts that had happened at the border. The attackers insisted on stopping reports on these issues.


Moreover, a van that was distributing the newspaper that same day was blocked in a nearby freeway. The driver was taken out of the car and left behind with that day’s edition.


Also in Matamoros, alleged criminals threw a grenade on February 6 to Televisa’s building in that city and injured two security guards.


Violence against journalists in Mexico has been of particular concern to this Office. The Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to thoroughly investigate the hypothesis that this crime could have been associated with the exercise of the victim’s right to freedom of expression or his human rights defense work, and to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators and masterminds responsible for this murder.


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 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.