Under pressure for a series of journalists' deaths, Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte has denied involvement in the murder of Ruben Espinosa. The journalist was found dead with four others in a Mexico City apartment.
The Mexican governor was interviewed by prosecutors Tuesday and denied involvement in the murder of five people in the capital. Among the dead was news photographer Ruben Espinosa, who was in self-exile because of threats he received in the coastal state of Veracruz.
Duarte said he fully answered questions from investigators and called suggestions he was behind the killing of Espinosa a "public lynching."
One suspect has been arrested based on a fingerprint found in the apartment in a middle class neighborhood of Mexico City.
Espinosa, 31, who worked for the weekly magazine "Proceso" and the photo agency Cuartoscuro, fled Veracruz in June after being intimidated and harassed. Duarte gave up his immunity as governor to testify, Mexico City prosecutors confirmed.
The killings of Espinosa and four others on July 31 in an apartment in central Mexico City have prompted an outcry from free speech organizations and human rights activists. Duarte has seen 13 journalists killed in the state since taking office in 2010 and three more have disappeared.
"I don't believe in special privileges," he said in a statement, referring to the accusations, "but I also don't believe in public lynchings," he added. "This is far from having value, far from the truth and covers up the real culprits."
Journalists as targets
The victims of the July 31 killings included Espinosa, who was found shot in the head, his body bound and tortured. The attackers also killed his friend, activist Nadia Vera, Colombian Mile Virginia Martin, a 19-year-old makeup artist, and a 40-year-old housekeeper.
Espinosa's murder highlighted the often dangerous situation for journalists in Mexico. At least a dozen journalists from around the country have taken shelter in Mexico City because they fear for their safety in a nation where, according to Reporters Without Borders, 88 of their colleagues have died violently in the past 15 years.
"We hold Governor Javier Duarte Ochoa and all of his Cabinet responsible for anything that might happen to us, those involved in organizing these types of movements," Vera said in an interview months before her death.
dr/kms (AP, dpa, Reuters)