A judge Mexican determined this Tuesday that Juan Francisco Picos, alias “El Quillo”, a member of a criminal cell that was part of the Sinaloa Cartel, is responsible for the murder of journalist Javier Valdez, which occurred on May 15, 2017, in Culiacán, Sinaloa, north of the country.

Judge José Noé Egure was the one who issued the ruling in the Culiacán Federal Penal Center and said that the sentence will be handed down later.

After just over a month of trial, at the hearing it was found that Valdez, who was 50 years old, was murdered for his journalistic work.

Later, in a statement, the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) of Mexico reported that it obtained a conviction against the aforementioned subject “for his criminal responsibility as a material co-author in the murder of the journalist” from the state of Sinaloa.

The institution explained that the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) presented 32 prosecution witnesses against the defendant, so it was able to “prove the qualifications of premeditation and advantage against this person who exercised the journalism”.

“It was proven that the homicide was due to a series of notes written by the journalist in question,” the note said.

It was also noted that Juan Francisco Picos was a material co-author (one of those who shot the journalist) and the one who organized the plan for the execution.

FEADLE explained that this sentence is added to that obtained in March 2020 against Heriberto “P”, a relative of the accused today, who also participated in the events and was sentenced to 14 years and 8 months in prison after confessing to having participated in the crime.

The Prosecutor’s Office indicated that in the next few days it will continue with the corresponding legal process, which refers to the hearing of individualization of the sentence for this individual.

In September 2020, FEADLE requested a 50-year prison sentence for one of those accused of the journalist’s murder.

On May 15, 2017, in Culiacán, and as a result of his journalistic activity, Valdez was assassinated with 12 gunshots when leaving the offices of his weekly, Río Doce.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for the practice of journalism in the world.

According to the NGO Article 19, since 2000 to date it has documented 137 murders of journalists in Mexico, possibly related to their work. Of the total, 126 are men and 11 are women.

Of these, 47 were registered during the previous term of President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) and in just over two years of the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, 17 journalists have been assassinated for reasons possibly related to their work.

According to the organization Reporters Without Borders, murders against journalists have 99% impunity.

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