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  • Journalists and activists in Mexico City protesting the murders of Mexican journalists.

    Journalists and activists in Mexico City protesting the murders of Mexican journalists. | Photo: Reuters

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Nine journalists have been killed in Mexico since the start of the year.

A journalist who escaped from alleged persecution by the Mexican army has been denied his asylum bid by a Texas immigration court, more than nine years after he left Mexico.

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On July 13, Judge Robert S. Hough rejected all of the evidence presented by Emilio Gutierrez Soto.

The 53 year old Mexican used to work in Ascension, in northern Chihuahua state, as the correspondent for the Diario del Noroeste newspaper, based in Ciudad Juarez.

“He did not accept the arguments, the testimonies and the journalistic proofs we presented,” including the cases of murdered journalists in recent years, Gutierrez told EFE from his home in Las Cruces, Nuevo Mexico.

His case was defended with the support of the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center based in El Paso.

He will file an appeal on August 19.

Gutierrez fled from Mexico with his 15-year-old son in June 2008.

He had allegedly receiving death threats from the Mexican army following the publication of his report about on a robbery in a hotel for immigrants by six military officers, in the city of Palomas in  2005.

A few days later, the Mexican General Alfonso Garcia Vega ordered Gutierrez to meet him in Asuncion.

The general then told Gutierrez to stop writing articles that undermined the army, according to an interview Gutierrez gave to Mother Jones.

Gutierrez apologized, but three years later, about 50 soldiers raided his house at night and he later received death threats,

Father and son were detained by U.S. immigration authorities and held in separate detention facilities in Texas for seven months before being released pending the outcome of the asylum hearing.

Mexico has become an increasingly dangerous place for journalists to work in recent years.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the country had the third-highest rate of killings last year, and the most outside of a war zone.

According to a recent report by Article 19, the press freedom organization, 2016 was the most deadly year for the press in Mexico in the past decade with 11 journalists murdered and more than 400 attacks on media workers.

The organization also found that the killers get away with the crimes 99.7 percent of the time, while the government is often accused of corruption and complicity in the murder of journalists.

Since the start of 2017, nine more journalists have been killed.

Mexico was named the second deadliest conflict zone in the world in May, with 23,000 deaths as a result of the drug war.  

 

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