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Journalist receives death threats over embarrassing recording of aspiring PRI candidate in Puebla

(CEPET/IFEX) - The following is a statement from CEPET, an interim member of IFEX:

Threats against reporter in Puebla

At a 5 July 2007 press conference, former "Suma" newspaper journalist Daniel Méndez Najar reported that businessman José Zavala Antona, the pre-candidate of the Partido de la Revolución Institucional (PRI) party for the presidency of the municipality of Atlixco in Puebla state, has threatened to kill him.

The businessman is believed to be angry over the leaking of a recording of a conversation in which he spoke about his good relations with the Puebla state governor, who is currently in the midst of a controversy for having used public security forces to violate the rights of journalist Lydia Cacho, who had brought to public light the existence of a pedophile network in which another businessman from Puebla state was involved (see IFEX alerts of 25 June and 3 January 2007, 8 March and 16 February 2006 and 22 and 21 December 2005).

On the recording, Zavala Antona indicates that he has good contacts with the state, and prefers that candidacies for public office be determined by the traditional "dedazo" process, whereby outgoing politicians announce who their successor should be, rather than by internal elections held by party members.

The threatening calls began the day after a local newspaper published the content of the recording and the interview that Méndez Najar had conducted with Zavala Antona.

Méndez Najar says that he has received e-mail messages and constant telephone calls, both in the middle of the night and during the day, warning him that if he continues leaking the information, he will be killed.

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