August 10, 2015 / 10:50 PM / 2 years ago

Mexico governor to be questioned over killing of photojournalist

Javier Duarte, Governor of the state of Veracruz, attends a news conference in Xalapa, Mexico, August 10, 2015.Stringer

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The governor of the Mexican state of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, will be questioned over the recent murder of five people in the country's capital, including a photojournalist, the mayor of Mexico City said on Monday.

The killings of photographer Ruben Espinosa and four others on July 31 in an apartment in central Mexico City have prompted an outcry from free speech organizations and human rights activists.

Espinosa, 31, who worked for the weekly magazine Proceso and the photo agency Cuartoscuro, had sought shelter in Mexico City earlier this summer saying he had been followed and threatened in the eastern state of Veracruz.

"I have commented to him (Governor Duarte) that we are required to take a statement directly from the governor," Mexico City mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told reporters on Monday.

In a rare move for Mexico, a group of investigators from the city prosecutor's office will travel to Veracruz on Tuesday to take a statement from Duarte.

In a letter to Mancera posted on the state government's website, Duarte wrote that his government was at the "absolute disposal" of the authorities.

He added, "we will provide whatever ... information is asked of us, in order to contribute to clearing up this multiple homicide."

Nadia Vera, a Veracruz activist killed alongside Espinosa, had recently said in a video interview posted online that if anything happened to her or fellow activists, it would be Duarte and the state government's fault.

While official death statistics for journalists vary, the freedom of speech organization Article 19 has said that Veracruz is the most dangerous place for freedom of expression in Latin America.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Simon Gardner and Alan Crosby

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