Photographer killed in Mexico as journalist death toll nears record

Cameras are placed over a placard reading "You don't kill the truth killing journalists" during a protest following the murder of photojournalist Daniel Esqueda outside the Municipal Palace in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, on Friday. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 October 2017
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Photographer killed in Mexico as journalist death toll nears record

MEXICO CITY: The bullet-riddled body of a news photographer was found in central Mexico on Friday, state officials, putting 2017 on track to become the deadliest year yet for journalists in the notoriously violent country.
Edgar Daniel Esqueda, 23, who worked with Metropoli San Luis and Vox Populi SLP in the state of San Luis Potosi, was found in the state capital with at least three bullet wounds in the back of his neck, authorities said.
The news outlets where Esqueda worked reported had reported his abduction from his home by gunmen on Thursday morning.
San Luis Potosi’s governor, Manuel Carreras, told a press conference an investigation was underway. He did not say whether Esqueda’s murder was linked to his work as a journalist.
With Esqueda’s killing, 2017 could become the bloodiest year yet for reporters in Mexico, according to press freedom and journalists’ advocacy group Articulo 19.
The photo journalist was the 11th reporter killed so far this year, the group said. That matched the total in 2016, which was the highest number on record in a country torn by runaway levels of criminal and drug-related bloodletting.
Over the past 17 years, 111 journalists have been killed in Mexico, 38 of them under the current government of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Reporters Without Borders and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) both rank Mexico among the deadliest countries in the world for reporters.
Activists have repeatedly criticized Mexican prosecutors for failing to fully investigate many journalists’ murders, allowing the killers to operate with impunity.
Mexico’s human rights commission has asked state authorities to provide protection for Esqueda’s family members, who were at home with the photographer when he was taken by force, according to Articulo 19.
Witnesses who spoke with the group said Esqueda asked his kidnappers for their identity when they broke into the home where he was asleep with his wife, and they responded that they were police officers.
The state police force said via Twitter that “there has not been any police action against a reporter in the capital.”
“Criminals, sometimes connected with state actors, know that they can get away with killing journalists in Mexico because of chronic impunity for these crimes. Until that changes, the violence will continue,” Alexandra Ellerbeck, the CPJ’s program coordinator for North America, said in a statement.
Esqueda had reported threats months ago to a government-run human rights group in San Luis Potosi, one of his colleagues told Reuters.


Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

Updated 15 min 42 sec ago
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Wife of former Malaysian PM Najib to be questioned by anti-corruption agency

  • Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation
  • A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, was summoned on Tuesday for questioning by the anti-graft agency in its multi-billion dollar corruption probe at state fund 1MDB.
It was the second time Rosmah, 66, has been called in by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) since the shock defeat of Najib in the May general election.
Rosmah was first questioned in June in connection with the investigation, which is looking into allegations of corruption and misappropriation in state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Her husband has pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.
The former first lady was served with a notice on Tuesday afternoon to appear before MACC the next day, her lawyer K.Kumaraendran said, adding that she was asked to assist with investigations under the anti-money laundering act.
A source familiar with the investigation said Rosmah would be questioned in connection with the 1MDB probe.
After filing fresh charges against Najib last week, Azam Baki, the deputy commissioner of the anti-graft agency, said more charges could be brought against individuals over 1MDB.
When asked if Rosmah could face charges, he said: “I’m not denying that.”
Rosmah’s penchant for designer handbags, watches and jewelry raised eyebrows in Malaysia, with opponents asking how she was able to afford the luxury items on her husband’s government salary.
She has drawn comparisons to Imelda Marcos, who left behind more than 1,200 pairs of shoes when her husband Ferdinand Marcos was ousted as president of the Philippines in 1986.
Najib and Rosmah have both been barred from leaving the country since the former’s election defeat, and their home and other properties linked to them have been searched by the police as part of the 1MDB investigations.
The haul seized from the properties included 567 handbags, 423 watches and 12,000 pieces of jewelry.
Najib has said most of the seized items were gifts given to his wife and daughter and had nothing to do with 1MDB.
The US Department of Justice has alleged more than $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and that about $680 million ended up in Najib’s personal bank account. Najib has denied any wrongdoing.