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Two former policemen sentenced to 25 years in prison for 2015 murder of Mexican journalist Moisés Sánchez

Two former policemen found guilty of the 2015 murder of Veracruz journalist and activist Moisés Sánchez Cerezo were sentenced to 25 years in prison and the payment of about $18,000 in civil reparations, according to Animal Político.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Veracruz (FGE, for its acronym in Spanish) reported that the convicted ex-policemen of the municipality of Medellín de Bravo, identified as Luigui Heriberto “N” and José Francisco “N,” were prosecuted for intentional homicide and breach of legal duty, the office said in a statement published on March 27.

Omar Cruz Reyes, former municipal president of Medellín Bravo and member of the PAN party, who is the presumed intellectual author of the murder according to the prosecution, is still on the run from authorities, according to Animal Político.

La Jornada de Veracruz reported that Sánchez Cerezo’s son, Jorge Sánchez Ordóñez said the case is stalled and not resolved because nothing has been done regarding the alleged authors of the murder. Sánchez Ordóñez was referring to the fugitive Cruz Reyes.

Regarding the men sentenced, the son of the journalist said that they were patrolling the block when everything happened. “They are not the ones who abducted my father, they are not the intellectual authors, they are the ones who did not respond to the call (for help made by the family),” La Jornada de Veracruz reported.

The son of the journalist said, according to La Jornada, that he and his family did not receive any official notification of the sentence but that they found out thanks to some media colleagues, who notified them by phone and read the bulletin issued by the FGE.

Sánchez Cerezo was the owner, founder and investigative reporter of the news weekly La Unión. The journalist was the editor of the print and digital version of the weekly, which covered allegations of corruption by municipal authorities, road accidents, power gaps and citizen complaints in the area such as theft of natural resources and violent killings, according to the journalist organization Periodistas de a Pie.

According to the organization, the journalist's relatives said that on the night of Jan. 2, 2015, a group of armed men arrived at the journalist's house in three vans and abducted Sánchez Cerezo violently in front of his family. The abductors also took his computer, camera and several cell phones, Periodistas de a Pie published at the time.

Three weeks after his abduction, Sánchez Cerezo's body was found decapitated and mutilated in a ditch in the town of Manlio Fabio Altamirano, 15 miles east of Medellín de Bravo, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported.

According to CPJ, the journalist's relatives said that he had received threats from the mayor of Medellín de Bravo, Cruz Reyes, a few days before his abduction and subsequent murder because of the critical position of his weekly newspaper toward municipal management.

However, the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (Feadle) ruled out at that time that the murder of Sánchez Cerezo was motivated by his work as a journalist, saying that his main job was as a taxi driver, according to the human rights organization Article 19 of Mexico. The same type of argument was given regarding the murder of another journalist from Veracruz, Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, in 2014.

In 2015, a federal judge ordered the Attorney General's Office (PGR) to investigate the murder of Sánchez Cerezo through the Feadle. According to Animal Político, the judge said that the PGR’s arguments that did not accredit Sánchez Cerezo as a journalist violated the standards on freedom of expression.

During the term of PAN party governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa (2010-2016) -- who is now being investigated for corruption and other charges -- 17 journalists were killed and three others are still missing in Veracruz, according to Animal Político.


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