They submitted a formal request to this effect today to the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE). The news of Martínez’s murder shook the entire country when her body was found in April 2012.
Proceso’s correspondent in the eastern state of Veracruz, Martínez was found beaten and strangled to death in her home on 28 April 2012 after writing a series of stories about drug trafficking and corruption in Veracruz. Although the investigation by the Veracruz prosecutor’s office led to a suspect’s arrest and conviction, it was marred by many irregularities and unexplained aspects. In particular, the link between the murder and Martínez’s reporting was totally neglected.
“The Mexican authorities must establish an emergency plan for the justice system and must combat impunity for crimes of violence against journalists effectively,” said Antoine Bernard, a lawyer who advises RSF on international litigation and advocacy. “The links between Regina Martínez’s reporting and her murder must be analysed as a priority. This complaint filed in Mexico calls on the justice system to finally shed light on her murder and thereby demonstrate a desire on the part of the authorities to prosecute these crimes.”
Today’s initiative comes a month after Free Press Unlimited, the Committee to Protect Journalists and RSF published a joint report entitled “The Murder of Regina Martínez Perez: an Opportunity for Justice” on 17 March.
The reported documented a string of serious anomalies in the official investigation conducted by the Veracruz authorities, in particular, the fact that the main suspect for the murder was convicted on the basis of a confession obtained under torture. It also presented several witness statements that challenge the official version of the murder.
This initiative is also a follow-up to the formal request that RSF and Propuesta Cívica submitted to the International Criminal Court two years ago, on 12 March 2019, asking the court to investigate a total of 102 murders of journalists, including Martínez, and 14 disappearances of journalists that took place under President Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). Nearly all of these murders and disappearances remain unpunished.
RSF sent a supplementary letter to the ICC on 9 February 2021 providing the details of 19 subsequent murders of journalists, bringing to 135 the overall number of murders and disappearances that the ICC has been asked to investigate in these two complaints.
At least eight journalists were murdered in connection with their work in Mexico in 2020, confirming Mexico’s position as one of the world’s deadliest countries for the media.
Mexico is ranked 144th in out of 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.
Image Credit: Free Press Unlimited