Today, 24 January, marks 8 years since the body of José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, a community journalist in Medellín, Veracruz, was found. After 8 years without justice, ARTICLE 19’s Office for Mexico and Central America and ARTICLE 19’s International office, alongside the Sánchez family, have presented the case of Moisés Sánchez Cerezo before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
On 2 January 2015, an armed convoy entered the home of Moisés Sánchez, who was the Director of La Unión: La Voz de Medellín newspaper, in Medellín de Bravo, Veracruz. He was deprived of his liberty and disappeared for 22 days. On 24 January 2015, authorities announced that they had found Moisés Sánchez’s dead body.
Since then, access to justice has been limited and been at serious risk. Investigation into the case has been marred by human rights violations. This included the arbitrary detention of police officers days after the incident – an illegal move that appeared to be an attempt on behalf of authorities to demonstrate they were taking action on the case, but which produced no results – and the torture of a perpetrator who confessed. These actions were all part of an effort to create a distorted and convenient ‘historic truth’ for the then Governor Javier Duarte and his then Public Prosecutor, Luis Ángel Bravo. As a result, the process before the justice system faltered.
In addition, there was a lack of due diligence, which resulted in a failure to establish clear lines of investigation and investigative procedures. This was corroborated by the Ministerial Investigative Unit of the then Federal Prosecutor’s Office (PGR) itself, which noted that in 2018 the investigation was going nowhere and many of the procedures carried out made no sense. Following the last 8 years, the Sánchez Ordoñez family, which once had hope, now feels deeply disappointed in the wake of five administrations led by various parties: the state of Veracruz has had three Governors and the country two Presidents over the last eight years.
Eight years on, relatives, journalists colleagues and friends of Moisés have asked to be granted truth and justice for what happened. The protection and investigative authorities have failed to meet minimum standards of human rights, including the family’s rights as victims of human rights violations, leading to further revictimisation and violations of existing protocols regarding the matter.
For 8 years, Moisés’ family and ARTICLE 19 have called on the state and federal authorities to guarantee justice, reparation and truth in this case. However, both the State Public Prosecutor’s Office of Veracruz and the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office have failed in their duty to investigate the case with due diligence in order to bring to justice all those involved, including perpetrators, instigators, masterminds, and all those with links to what happened to Moisés.
The failure to carry out due diligence in this investigation has made it an emblematic case at national level, as it reflects how violence and impunity against the press is systematic, as well as the fact that justice continues to be an empty promise. Therefore, as a result of these omissions and the violence perpetrated by the authorities during the last 8 years, the ARTICLE 19 Office for Mexico and Central America and ARTICLE 19’s International office, alongside the Sánchez family, have presented the case of Moisés Sánchez Cerezo before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Read ARTICLE 19’s statement from 2015, at the time of Moisés Sánchez’s disappearance