Case History: Regina Martinez Perez
On 28 April 2012 journalist and human rights defender Ms Regina Martínez Pérez was found dead in her home in the city of Xalapa, in Veracruz.
Regina Martínez Pérez was a Mexican journalist and human rights defender who worked as a correspondent with the weekly publication Proceso. She was writing about issues relating to drug cartels and the links between organised criminal groups and government officials. She was killed in April 2012 and her body was found in her home in Xalapa.
On 10 April 2013 the Third Court of First Instance of the Judicial District of Xalapa sentenced Jorge Antonio Hernandez Silva, “El Silva”, to 38 years and two months in prison, for the homicide and robbery of human rights defender and journalist Regina Martínez Pérez in April 2012.
Regina Martínez Pérez was a correspondent with the weekly publication Proceso in which she addressed issues relating to drug cartels and the links between organised criminal groups and government officials. She was found dead in her home in Xalapa on 28 April 2012, and her body showed signs of having been badly beaten around the face and ribs, and marks consistent with strangulation. “El Silva” was arrested six months after the killing and, according to prosecutors, confessed to the robbery and murder.
Proceso has issued a statement (in Spanish) expressing their lack of faith in the investigations. Regina Martinez’s colleagues, as well as several journalists, have highlighted inconsistencies in the investigation leading to the conviction of Jorge Antonio Hernandez Silva, and have argued that the human rights defender was not killed as part of a robbery gone wrong but because of her investigative work.
Included in El Silva's sentence was a fine of over 17,000 pesos compensation to be paid to the heirs of Regina Martínez Pérez . The Attorney General of the state of Veracruz has confirmed that the police are continuing to investigate other individuals in relation to this case.
On 28 April 2012 journalist and human rights defender Ms Regina Martínez Pérez was found dead in her home in the city of Xalapa, in Veracruz. Her body showed signs of having been badly beaten around the face and ribs. The initial pathology reports indicate that the cause of death was asphyxia. The perpetrators removed the journalist's mobile telephones, computer and a television from her home. In the week prior to her killing Regina Martínez Pérez had reported on the arrest of an allegedly high-ranking Zeta criminal leader, the arrests of nine police officers charged over links to cartels, and also a story relating to a local mayor who was arrested with other alleged cartel gunmen following a shootout with the Mexican Army.
The killing of Regina Martínez Pérez follows a series of recent attacks against journalists with reports stating that four journalists were killed in 2011 in the State of Veracruz alone. It has been reported that over the last decade Mexico has consistently been among the most dangerous countries in the world to practice journalism. Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned for the safety of journalists in Mexico who, by carrying out their work in the promotion of human rights and the exposure of human rights violations, are at risk of being killed, detained and harassed. Front Line believes that the killing of Regina Martínez Pérez is directly related to her work in the defence of human rights and in particular her reporting on organised criminal activity and links to government officials.