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U.S. ICE Detains Mexican Journalist Seeking Asylum From Death Threats

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Journalist Martín Méndez Pineda sought protection from US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent but was instead arrested on February 5th, 2017 and detained in El Paso, Texas. (RWB image)

By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. April 18, 2017: A Mexican journalist who came to the United States border seeking asylum from growing death threats in Guerrero, Mexico, is now a prisoner in a U.S. detention center.

Journalist Martín Méndez Pineda sought protection from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent but was instead arrested on February 5th, 2017 and detained in El Paso, Texas.

Méndez was seeking asylum after publishing an article exposing police misconduct in Guerrero in February 2016, and after being assaulted and threatened with death at his home.

He was also subjected to intimidation and harassment by Mexican federal officers thereafter, according to Reporters Without Borders and following months of persecution, went into hiding for fear of his life and eventually fled Guerrero for the U.S. border.

Sadly, Méndez was shown no mercy and instead arrested. Méndez has yet to receive an answer and is being held in the detention center in “deplorable conditions,” according to his lawyer, Carlos Spector, who is his only contact with the outside world and has been helping him at every step.

According to RSF’s tally, 11 journalists have been murdered in Guerrero since 2003 and one has disappeared. The most recent victim was Cecilio Pineda Birto, a crime reporter who was gunned down in Guerrero last month.

Ranked 149th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index, Mexico is the western hemisphere’s deadliest country for the media. A record number of 11 journalists were killed in connection with their work in Mexico in 2016.

In addition to Pineda Birto in Guerrero, two other journalists were murdered last month in Mexico: Miroslava Breach and Ricardo Monlui. There were also two attempted murders of journalists.

RWB has launched a petition to urge for his freedom. To support this petition sign here or log on to rsf.org/en/free-martin-mende