In an 11 April 2000 letter to President Ernesto Zedillo, IPI strongly condemned the killing of Pablo Pineda, a reporter and photographer for "La Opinion" newspaper in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas.
On Sunday 9 April 2000, U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered the body of Pineda, thirty-eight years old, on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande near Harlingen, Texas. The agents watched two men crossing the river with a large package, which they assumed contained drugs. When nobody arrived to collect the bundle, the agents inspected it and found the dead journalist with a bullet wound in the back of the head.
IPI understands that Pineda's aggressive style of reporting had made him unpopular with both the police and criminals. He had survived a previous attack by a gunman in December 1999 and was severely beaten three years ago. "He had a lot of enemies," said Martin Castillo, "La Opinion"'s chief police reporter. "He was a strong person who wanted to discover and uncover anything criminal."
IPI fears that Pineda may have been killed as a direct result of his activities as a journalist.
Send appeals to the president:
- urging that an immediate and thorough investigation into his killing is conducted and that those responsible for this heinous crime are brought to justice
- further urging that all possible steps are taken to ensure that journalists working in Mexico are allowed to freely and safely practice their profession
H.E. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon
Patio de Honor, Piso 1, Col. Centro
06067 Mexico City DF
Fax: +52 5 395 6790
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.