A photographer for the Mexican investigative magazine Proceso, who had fled his home state after being harassed, was among five people found slain early Saturday in an apartment in Mexico City, according to the magazine.
The body of Ruben Espinosa, who collaborated with Proceso and other media, was identified by a family member at the morgue Saturday afternoon, Proceso reported, adding that he had two gunshot wounds.
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Espinosa had recently gone into self-exile from the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, where he felt under threat, according to Proceso. His family had lost contact with him on Friday and by Saturday the free speech advocacy group Article 19 had called on Mexican authorities to activate the protocols for locating a missing journalist.
He was found dead with four women, three of whom lived in the apartment in the middle-class Narvarte neighborhood near the center of the city, according to the Mexico City prosecutor’s office. The fourth woman was a domestic employee, the prosecutor’s statement said. It said identifications and cause of death were still being verified.
Veracruz has been a dangerous state for reporters. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 11 journalists have been killed there since 2010, all under Gov. Javier Duarte, the most recent just a month ago. Two others, including Espinosa, were Veracruz journalists found dead outside of the state.
Article 19 on Saturday called the killing of Espinosa a new level of violence against journalists in Mexico, as he was first to be killed while in exile in Mexico City. Many reporters under threat in their home states have taken refuge in the capital, where the federal government has set up an agency to help such journalists.
The advocacy group said in an article that the killing occurred “without authorities charged with protecting journalists lifting a finger to help Espinosa.”
Article 19 said it published an alert about Espinosa June 15 after he reported unknown people following him, taking his photograph and harassing him outside his home in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz.