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March 15, 2012

Prosecutor says February attack on Mexicali journalist had to do with a personal quarrel, not with writer Antonio Heras's work

rommel morenoBaja California state prosecutor Rommel Moreno (left) said Wednesday that February's beating of Mexicali journalist Antonio Heras came as the result of a personal quarrel and not because of Heras's writing. Rommel said authorities knew who had attacked Heras, and said Heras and that person will be testifying in court and a judge will determine responsibility.
Story, Frontera (PDF).
Although after the beating happened, Heras said he hoped the attack was not the result of his journalism, he begged to differ with Rommel on Wednesday. In his column (PDF), he calls Rommel irresponsible and said he will hold Rommel irresponsible for any injury Heras or his family suffers. El Mexicano newspaper, which Heras writes for, said Heras went to Mexico City to try to get the federal Attorney General's Office to investigate the case. El Mexicano story (PDF). Meanwhile, Odilón García in his "Sea Serpent" column in El Mexicano quoted state human rights prosecutor Heriberto García as saying that Rommel's statement that the attack was an isolated event, but without detaining the attacker, could endanger Heras.

Update, April 2: Jaime Flores Martínez, in his first column since being sidelined by health issues, attacks Moreno's take on Heras's beating. Flores's Cicuta (Hemlock) column (PDF).
Update, Feb. 23, 2013: Heras writes a column on the anniversary of his beating, saying a federal judge's hand trembled when she ruled that the case was not a federal one because it did not have to do with his job as a journalist.

Feb. 24, 2012

Journalist beaten in Mexicali

Journalist Antonio Heras, who writes a column in El Mexicano and is a correspondent for La Jornada in Mexicali, reported that he was beaten antonio heras lindero norte column logoso badly by at least three men Thursday afternoon he had to be treated for bruising and bleeding in a hospital. He said that after eating with Luis Gallego, an adviser to Mayor Francisco Pérez Tejada, in La Muralla China restaurant, he got in his car and was pursued by a vehicle whose occupants kicked and beat him. He said he did not know why he was attacked, but said he might leave Baja California for a time. The Mexico City native, 53, has worked in Baja California for 21 years. He recently wrote a story for La Jornada about how police in Mexicali received flower arrangements in what was seen as a threat from organized crime. That story talked about a policeman who was killed Jan. 19 in front of the Autonomous University of Baja California. The story said that the night after Daniel Samaniego Félix was buried, his body was dug up, shot again, his tombstone broken and pictures left of his widow (also a security agent) and three other officials. The next morning, flower arrangements and threats were left at the homes of four security officials. The case has caused Mexicali police to launch a major internal investigation into possible corrupt police. It is unclear whether other media reported about the flower arrangements and threats being sent and the tomb being dug up; it appears that neither El Mexicano nor Frontera wrote about that.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Feb. 25: Heras presents complaint to authorities. Story, El Mexicano (PDF).
Update, Feb. 29: El Mexicano columnist Jaime Flores Martínez calls for investigation into assault, saying all avenues should be investigated, even the rumor that the beating might have had to do with road rage. Heras recently wrote a column (PDF) saying a Tijuana official was trying to get Flores' Cicuta column discontinued.

Heras's Feb. 7 story in La Jornada about how police received flower arrangements, seen as threats from organized crime.
Dec. 26 Heras story about rights complaints against military in Baja California.
Heras column Saturday (PDF) about how educators want more transparency in how the Autonomous University of Baja California is run.
Heras 2007 story in La Jornada saying teachers union leader Elba Esther Gordillo had her troops out to prevent Jorge Hank Rhon from becoming Baja California governor.
Frontera's Jan. 20 story about policeman's shooting (PDF).