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Mexican authorities arrest former police officer suspected of abducting journalist in Baja California

The Mexican Attorney General's Office (PGR for its acronym in Spanish) announced on Dec. 2 that a man identified as Fabricio "N" in Mexicali, capital of the state of Baja California, was arrested and accused of being responsible for the abduction of a journalist and theft of his materials in February of this year.

In a press release, the PGR stated that it had complied with an arrest warrant against Fabricio "N" that was requested by the Special Prosecutor's Office for Attention to Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) for the crimes of illegal deprivation of liberty and aggravated robbery.

Fabricio “N” (Photo: Procuraduría General de la República)

According to La Jornada, the arrested suspect is Fabricio Valenzuela Ruiz, who acted as the operational director-general of the State Police of Baja California. He is accused of being responsible for the abduction of journalist Mariano Soto Cortez last Feb. 15, the newspaper said.

Cortez, director of the news portal Tijuana Sin Censura, reported that he had been abducted, tortured and threatened and had his work material stolen by state security agents in February, according to a report from Milenio.

In a complaint filed with the PGR and reported by Milenio in March, Cortez said he spent 13 hours being tortured and assaulted by alleged police officers, who demanded that he "stop publishing anything related to crime rates related to organized crime and against the Secretary of Public Security of Tijuana, Daniel De La Rosa Anaya, or they would kill him and his family.”

In addition to Ruiz and Anaya, in the complaint to the Attorney General’s Office, the journalist also included the governor of the state of Baja California, Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, "for allowing police officers and authorities to act with impunity," as written by Milenio.

According to the PGR, Ruiz was arrested in Mexicali by agents of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) "without using violence or affecting others.”

Freedom of expression organization Article 19 Mexico reported 276 attacks on the press in the first half of 2017. “It is presumed that 50.7 percent of the attacks were committed by public officials,” it added.

Impunity reigns in an astounding 99.6 percent of crimes against journalists in the country, according to Article 19.


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