Oaxaca Journalist Investigating Brad Will’s Murder is Shot

MEXICO: Oaxaca journalist shot and wounded

New York, June 13, 2007 — The Committee to Protect Journalists (CJP) condemns the shooting of a Mexican journalist who had received death threats in connection with his investigation of the slaying of a U.S. journalist during violent street protests last fall in the southern city of Oaxaca.

Misael Sánchez Sarmiento, a reporter for the Oaxaca-based daily Tiempo, was shot twice Tuesday evening by an unidentified assailant outside his home on the outskirts of Oaxaca, 323 miles (520 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City, the paper’s director, Wenceslao Añorve, told CPJ. Sánchez was wounded in his jaw and left leg and was in stable condition today after surgery.

Sánchez covered local political news and was in charge of the daily paper’s investigative unit. He had received death threats in November 2006 after reporting on the killing the previous month of U.S. journalist Bradley Will, an independent documentary filmmaker and reporter for the Web site Indymedia. Will was shot while documenting clashes between activists and government agents in the provincial capital.

Añorve said he did not know the motive behind the attack, but believes it is related to Sánchez’s journalism. The local police and state attorney’s office are investigating, he said.

“We condemn the shooting attack on Misael Sánchez Sarmiento,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “We call on Oaxaca authorities to thoroughly investigate the attack, find all those responsible and bring them to justice.”

Tiempo is a pro-government paper that has criticized the local antigovernment group Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO), which clashed last year with Oaxaca authorities during a months-long conflict that paralyzed the city.

The conflict began last June when authorities used tear gas to break up a demonstration by striking teachers. That prompted leftist activists to take to the streets in a bid to oust Oaxacan Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz. Media outlets were targeted by both sides in the ensuing unrest, and several journalists were beaten and harassed while covering the violence. The conflict peaked with Will’s murder in October.

Since 2000, six journalists have been killed in direct reprisal for their work in Mexico, and CPJ is investigating the circumstances surrounding the slayings of 12 others. In addition, five journalists have disappeared since 2005, three of them this year.

On May 9, a CPJ delegation met with Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana, the Mexican ambassador to the United States. The delegation called on Mexico’s federal government to take concrete steps to protect press freedom and prosecute those responsible for crimes against the press.

source: http://www.cpj.org/

3 Comments

  1. via Friends of Brad Will
    via Friends of Brad Will

    )))))))))))Send this letter today…

    ————–

    Representative Jerrold Nadler
    201 Varick Street, Suite 669
    New York, NY 10014
    Tel. 212-367-7350

    Dear Honorable Mr. Nadler,

    This letter is to thank you for your efforts to demand answers in the misuses of the Patriot Act. Please use the oversight hearings to inquire about surveillance and intelligence that may have been shared with foreign governments about American Citizen and New Yorker Brad Will.

    As you know, American journalist and human rights activist Brad Will was shot dead in Mexico on October 27, 2006 while filming and reporting from Oaxaca, where a months long strike by teachers had grown into a widespread social movement. Hundreds of local residents were arrested, but not yet the killers of Brad Will, though they are probably captured on film. Many people have been killed. Numerous federal elected officials have written to Secretary of State Condoleeza regarding the investigation into the murder of Mr. Will, including Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jose E. Serrano in New York, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Hilda Solis of California, and Raúl Grijalva of Arizona.

    As Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, your outrage over reports that an internal FBI audit shows that agents possibly violated the law or internal rules more than 1,000 times while misusing the National Security Letter (NSL) authority vastly expanded by the Patriot Act can translate into action. As you have pointed out, the NSL authority was used by FBI agents to gather information on domestic phone calls, e-mails and other communications as well as individual financial records. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Patriot Act Reform Caucus, we commend you in stating:

    “Today?s reports only heighten the clear need for fixes to the NSL authority. The Justice Department?s Inspector General previously found wide-spread abuses of the FBI?s authority to issue NSLs ? we now know that the problems go much further than initially disclosed. From the beginning, I have said that unchecked power would lead to rampant abuse. It?s clear, yet again, that reforms are needed.

    I hope that in the series of hearings entitled, “?The Constitution in Crisis: The State of Civil Liberties in America”? you will work with your colleagues to consider abuses of the FBI?s investigatory power and the unchecked collection of information on innocent Americans, particularly Brad Will.

    Brad Will was apparently targeted while serving as a journalist in Mexico. It seems that American law enforcement agencies have been sharing selective intelligence information with foreign governments, including that of Mexico. It is imperative that we learn if Mr. Will was a subject of the illegal surveillance under the National Security Letter, and, if so, what
    information was obtained and with whom was it shared.

    Thank you again for your strong leadership on this issue and I look forward to your written reply.

    Sincerely,

    Name: _________________________________________________

    Address: ______________________________________________________

    Zip: ____________

  2. Investigator of Brad Will’s Death Shot Twice
    http://www.theunapologeticmexican.org/elgrito/2007/06/investigator_of_brad_wills_shooting_shot_twice.html

    “IF THERE WAS EVER ANY DOUBT in my mind that Brad Will was shot as part of nefarious agendas designed to silence truth, that doubt is now completely gone. Misael Sánchez Sarmiento, the Oaxaca-based Tiempo reporter who was investigating the shooting, has now been shot himself.”
    -The Unapologetic Mexican

  3. Amnesty International Urgent Action

    PUBLIC
    AI Index: AMR 41/026/2007
    15 June 2007

    UA 151/07
    Fear for safety

    MEXICO
    Misael Sánchez Sarmiento (m), journalist

    Journalist Misael Sánchez Sarmiento, who writes for the Oaxacan newspaper Tiempo, was shot and wounded on 12 June near his home, on the outskirts of Oaxaca City. Amnesty International is concerned that he is at risk of further attacks, and that his life is in grave danger.

    On the evening of 12 June, Misael Sánchez reportedly returned to his home in town of Etla, near Oaxaca City, after work. At 8.30 pm, he and his wife went outside to fetch something from their car, parked nearby, and a gunman in the street fired at Misael Sánchez approximately six times, hitting him four times and wounding him in the face, neck and leg. Misael Sánchez was hospitalized: he was seriously injured, but his life is not in danger.

    There is no clear indication of the motive for the attack on Misael Sánchez. Tiempo supports the Oaxaca state government. During a political crisis in the state which began in mid-2006, he has frequently published articles critical of social organizations and the local opposition movement, the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca, Asamblea Popular del Pueblo de Oaxaca (APPO), which has led protests demanding the resignation of the state governor.

    BACKGROUND INFORMATION

    In June 2006 widespread protests erupted in the state of Oaxaca, led by the APPO, in an unsuccessful campaign to force the resignation of the state governor. Political violence and demonstrations continued throughout the year, with several media outlets being occupied, and journalists attacked and threatened, by armed civilians linked to the local government and police as well as supporters of the APPO. Twenty civilians were reportedly killed during the conflict, at least 370 were injured and 349 arrests were made. There were widespread reports of use of excessive force, arbitrary detention, torture and fabrication of criminal charges against protesters. Federal, state and municipal authorities responsible for abuses have not been held to account. At least eight APPO supporters remain in custody and hundreds of others are on bail facing criminal charges. While the political violence has declined, tensions remain high.

    During the political crisis media workers came under attack from both sides. One journalist, Bradley Will, was killed (see Further Information on UA 227/06, AMR 41/050/2006, 31 October August 2006), and several others were attacked and threatened. Those responsible have not been held to account. Nationwide, Mexico has seen an escalation in the violence against journalists, with at least 11 killings since the beginning of 2006 (see UA 87/07, AMR 41/014/2007, 16 April 2007) and several abductions. In acknowledgement of the rising attacks on journalists around the country and the failure of state authorities to hold those responsible to account, the federal authorities established the Office of Special Prosecutor on Crimes against Journalists (Fiscalía Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas) in February 2006 to improve investigation of such cases. However, there is almost total impunity for such crimes, as the Special Federal Prosecutor has failed to ensure successful prosecutions in any of the more than 100 cases under investigation.

    RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Spanish or your own language:

    – expressing concern at the shooting of Misael Sánchez Sarmiento on 12 June in Etla, Oaxaca State;

    – calling on the authorities to ensure that Misael Sánchez receives protection measures to guarantee his safety in accordance with his wishes;

    – calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation by the federal authorities into the attack on Misael Sánchez;

    – reminding the authorities of their duty to ensure those responsible for attacks on journalists are held to account in order to prevent future attacks and create a climate in which journalists can exercise their right to freedom of expression without fear of reprisal.

    APPEALS TO:
    Special Federal Prosecutor on Crimes against Journalists
    Lic. Octavio Alberto Orellana Wiarco
    Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas
    Procuradoría General de la República
    Av. Paseo de la Reforma #211-213
    Col. Cuauhtémoc, Del. Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06500, México D.F., MEXICO
    Fax: +52 55 53 46 09 08
    Salutation: Dear Sir/Señor Fiscal Especial

    Governor of Oaxaca
    Lic. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz
    Gobernador del Estado de Oaxaca
    Carretera Oaxaca-Puerto Angel, Km. 9.5, Santa María Coyotepec, Oaxaca,
    Oaxaca C. P. 71254, MEXICO
    Fax: +52 951 502 0530 (if a voice answers, ask “tono de fax, por favor”)
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Salutation: Señor Gobernador/Dear Governor

    Attorney General of Oaxaca
    Lic. Evencio Nicolás Martínez Ramírez
    Procurador del Estado de Oaxaca
    Avenida Luis Echeverría s/n, Col. La Experimental, San Antonio de la Cal,
    Oaxaca, Oaxaca 71236, MEXICO
    Fax: +52 951 511 5519
    Salutation: Dear Attorney General/Estimado Procurador

    Minister of the Interior
    Lic. Francisco Javier Ramírez Acuña
    Secretario de Gobernación, Secretaría de Gobernación
    Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc, México D.F.,
    C.P.06600, MEXICO
    Fax: +52 55 5093 3414
    Salutation: Señor Secretario/Dear Minister

    COPIES TO:

    President of the National Human Rights Commission
    Dr. José Luis Soberanes Fernández
    Presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH)
    Periférico Sur 3469, 5º piso, Col. San Jerónimo Lídice, México D.F. 10200,
    MEXICO

    and to diplomatic representatives of Mexico accredited to your country.

    PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 27 July 2007.

    Liliana Herrera
    Latino Outreach Coordinator
    Amnesty International USA, West
    T: (415) 291-9233 x212
    F: (415) 291-8722
    [email protected]

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