Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism

Body of kidnapped Mexican columnist found

12 June 2014

The decapitated body of an outspoken Mexican newspaper columnist was found in a garden on the outskirts of the tourist city of Acapulco June 2.

Jorge Torres Palacios, a journalist and spokesperson for the local health department, was abducted after arriving at his home on the afternoon of May 29, Proceso, a Mexican magazine said on its website.

The kidnappers did not demand a ransom, and several journalists said Torres’ abduction and death were unrelated to his work as a columnist, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The New York-based press group said that other local journalists expressed concern that government sources had omitted Torres’ work as a columnist in statements and releases.

Torres wrote a regular column called “Nada Personal,” or “Nothing Personal,” for the Mexican newspaper El Dictamen, in which he often criticized authority figures. El Dictamen published what the newspaper said were Torres’ final comments on June 1, after receiving them hours before his disappearance. .

In the 441-word column, Torres described painted bed sheets decrying political and police corruption hung from pedestrian bridges in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero. Torres went on to criticize Chilpancingo Mayor Mario Moreno Arcos, accusing him of neglecting duties to his constituents while striving to advance his political career.

At Torres’ funeral, held two days after the discovery of his body, local journalists called for justice for their colleague, according to La Jornada Guerrero, a local paper.

“We don’t ask for justice, we demand it — that this abominable murder be brought to light, because Jorge did not deserve it,” Pablo Martín Obregón, Televisa correspondent and union spokesperson, was quoted as saying.

According to La Jornada Guerrero, Torres’ son Jorge Luis Torres Gallardo also spoke.

“I ask for justice. It doesn’t matter to me who did it nor why. All I ask is that the authorities conduct an investigation and resolve the case. That’s all I ask,” he said.

Torres’ death comes after the abduction and murder of Veracruz journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz in February, according to a CPJ release. In March, a Mexican publication reported that the government panel created to investigate threats to journalists had failed to address more than half of the reported instances of violence and threats.

Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism.
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