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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK
Mexican columnist beaten to death
A well-known Mexican journalist has been beaten to death and his body dumped outside Red Cross offices in the city of Matamoros on the US border.

Police say the murder of Francisco Arratia Saldierna, 55, could have links to organised crime.

Mr Arratia wrote an outspoken column which appeared in several newspapers.

He is the third journalist to be killed this year along the Mexico-US border, where cartels compete for the lucrative drug-smuggling trade.

"He was beaten about the head and ribs, and his hands and fingers were broken," a police spokesman said.

Dangerous

Red Cross officials found Mr Arratia outside their office in Matamoros and rushed him to hospital, but he was dead on arrival.

Mr Arratia wrote the "Portavoz" or "Spokesman" column which touched on a range of sensitive issues in the state of Tamaulipas, including corruption, drug-trafficking and organised crime.

Mexico's border with the US is a dangerous place for journalists to work, says the BBC's Mexico correspondent Claire Marshall.

In March, a newspaper editor, Roberto Mora, was stabbed to death in Tamaulipas.

And in June a deputy editor of a crusading weekly paper, Francisco Ortiz, was shot dead in his car in Tijuana.

Both men had also reported on the drugs trade and corruption at the highest official levels.




SEE ALSO:
Mexican editor killed by gunmen
22 Jun 04  |  Americas
Country profile: Mexico
19 Aug 04  |  Country profiles


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