Mexico president announces arrests in journalist killing
Mexican authorities arrested three men in connection to the murder of Tijuana journalist Lourdes Maldonado, who was shot and killed outside her home on Jan. 23.
She was one of four Mexican journalists killed in Mexico in January and the second in Tijuana. Margarito Martinez, a prolific crime photographer, was gunned down outside his Tijuana home on Jan. 17.
The others were Jose Luis Gamboa, who was fatally stabbed in Veracruz, and Robert Toledo, who was shot and killed in Michoacan.
Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced the arrests related to Maldonado’s murder during a Wednesday morning press conference.
“You cannot bring somebody back to life, but we are obligated to bring about justice in this country,” he said.
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The president did not disclose any information about the motive of Maldonado’s killing. As is custom in Mexico, the suspects were only identified by their first name and an initial for their surname.
Lopez Obrador said the arrests were part of a joint investigation between federal and state law enforcement agencies.
The killing of four journalists in a single month prompted international demonstrations condemning violence against members of the news media.
Mexico has long been considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries in which to be a journalist. More than 25 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2016, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Maldonado and Margarito’s slayings also brought critical attention to Baja California’s journalist protection program.
The program is a “hollow shell” with no budget, no autonomy, fewer than five employees and rudimentary knowledge of risk evaluation, said Jan-Albert Hootsen, who oversees the Mexico Committee to Protect Journalists.
Maldonado was under that protection at the time of her death. Margarito requested protection but the new governor who began her term in November had not yet set up the enrollment process.