Kidnapped journalist found dead in central Mexico

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Mexican journalist Salvador Adame, who went missing last month after he was abducted by gunmen, has been found dead, prosecutors say, raising the number of journalists killed in Mexico so far this year to six.

Jose Godoy, the attorney general for the central state of Michoacan, told reporters on Monday that a body found along a highway near Nueva Italia on June 14 had been positively identified as Adame. His body had been burned.

Nueva Italia is a town about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Uruapan, or 300 kilometers (186 miles) west of Mexico City.

Adame went missing at about 7:50 p.m. on May 18 when armed men forced him into a vehicle near a water purifying plant in Nueva Italia. The journalist, who founded a local TV station called 6TV, had been threatened in the past and claimed to have been assaulted by local authorities.

But Godoy claimed on Monday that there was no evidence that Adame’s kidnapping and death were linked to his work as a journalist. He added that a man who was detained last week had told investigators that the leader of a local crime group had ordered Adame’s murder as a result of a personal dispute.

Adame, who worked as a journalist for more than 20 years, decided several years ago that his TV station would no longer cover gang violence out of fear for attacks. Instead, the station focused on general news and local politics, becoming a frequent critic of municipal officials.

Last year, Adame and his wife were detained by police in Nueva Italia while covering a sit-in by 17 women who were protesting changes to a local social program. Adame told the Committee to Protect Journalists that both he and his wife were kicked and beaten by police in the presence of local officials.

“Beyond the physical injuries caused by the beatings, I especially feared for my wife’s health,” Adame told the Committee in an interview last year. “She has a heart condition, I was afraid the commotion and the violence could have caused her a heart attack.”

Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist: Adame is the 6th journalist so far this year to be killed, more than any other country. Mexico’s Human Rights Commission said last year that 119 journalists were killed between 2000 and November 2016, plus 20 others who remain missing.

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