Independent Journalist Dies while in Police Custody

by Andrew Goodell

Piedras Negras, Coahuila.

Independent journalist Juan Nelcio Espinoza Menera died while in police custody on Friday, August 21, 2020. Espinoza Menera becomes the sixth journalist killed in Mexico during 2020.

Mr. Espinoza Menera was an independent journalist based out of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, which is situated on the Mexico-United States border, across the Rio Grande River from Eagle Pass, Texas. Espinoza was known as “El Valedor TV” for the reporting he did for his Facebook News page, Valedor TV

Espinoza Menera and a partner journalist, identified in reports as Néstor “N”, were detained in the early hours of August 21 by elements of the state police. According to reports, Espinoza Menera and his partner were investigating violent events between police and an armed gang earlier in the evening and were driving in the area when they were stopped, detained, and taken into custody for unknown circumstances and reasons. Police took them to an office of the Fiscalía General de Coahuila (Coahuila Attorney General).

While there, Espinoza Menera developed severe respiratory distress and was taken to the hospital but arrived without signs of life and, according to reports from doctors, with wounds that could have led to his death. However, the official cause of death has not been determined or released by the authorities. No witnesses have been identified.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico (CNDH) has called for a prompt, detailed, and impartial investigation into the events leading to and the cause of the death of Espinoza Menera. The CNDH is also concerned about investigating possible human rights violations and emphasizes that the state must follow all due-diligence required by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).

The second journalist, Néstor “N”, was still being held in police custody without communication, at the time of this writing.

Spanish-language story from Noticias ONU:

La ONU lamenta la muerte de periodista mexicano bajo custodia policial

Spanish-language story from Proceso:

CNDH atrae el caso del periodista Juan Nelcio Espinoza Menera

Spanish-language story from El Sol de Mexico: 

Muere reportero Juan Nelcio Espinoza tras ser detenido por policías en Coahuila

Spanish-language story from La Prensa:

CNDH atrae caso de periodista Juan Nelcio Espinoza

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