TONGOLELE on Sun, 25 Aug 2002 19:54:48 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> woman journalist covering Juarez corruption detained

México D.F., August 17,2002


Yesterday at the Chihuahua airport in the state of Chihuahua, the journalist 
ISABEL ARVIDE was detained by the authorities without the formal presentation 
of any order of arrest. More that an attack against the freedom and physical 
integrity of the journalist, this detention - once again - represents an 
attack on freedom of expression and the right to the free flow of information.

At about 9pm Mexico City time, ten armed men accosted the journalist while 
she was waiting for her flight to Mexico City from Chihuahua City, where had 
been invited to join Roberto Madrazo on a working tour of the city.

When the journalist's bodyguard requested that proper documents be shown, the 
members of the Federal Preventative Police declined show identification that 
would prove that they were members of a police association.

No agent of the public ministry was present, as it is required by law, for 
the apprehension of a person. 

But still, in response to several requests to produce a order of arrest, one 
of the police said that "we will soon go get it" and came back after ten 
minutes with a supposed order of arrest signed by a "Judge #2 of Chihuahua" 
without the certainty of knowing if this was a penal or civil judge charging 
"defamation" without clarifying who was or who were the plaintiffs.

Fearing for her physical safety, Isabel Arvide, resisted accompanying them 
until she saw official identification or official documents that certified 
the authenticity of the arrest order. She suspected that this was a 
kidnapping. In a violent manner she was taken out of the airport and forced 
to board one of three vans that - once again - had no identification as 
belonging to any police division. 

She was taken to the Aquiles Serdan jail in Chihuahua where the last that was 
known about her was that she was in the "receiving" area. In the early hours 
of the 17th of August, there was no news of her or of the plaintiffs, or of 
the veracity of the supposed arrest order.

At 1:30am on Saturday, the journalist was able to communicate with her son, 
who is now making this public statement. She declared the following:

1. She was specially invited by Robert Madrazo during the tour and as such 
she was present at the official events that they attended together, and the 
Robert Madrazo's staff took pcitures that prove this.

2. At approximately 7pm, Robert Madrazo's staff told her that she could not 
return on the same flight with Madrazo as had been planned but that she had 
been relocated to a commercial flight and that an assistant would be at the 
airport to give her her ticket.

3. When she got to the airport she could not find any personal assistant of 
Robert Madrazo's.

4. When she went to the waiting room, a person who identified himself as a 
personal assistant to Governor Patricio Barrios gave her a box of meat as a 
gift for the governor. When she identified herself, ten unidentified 
individuals attacked her, dominated her escort and forced her to leave the 
airport using physical force.

5. She was driven by van with other individuals without being told where they 
would be taken or why they were taken, and she thought they were going to be 

6. When they arrived at the Aquiles Serdan jail she was mistreated, beaten 
and dragged and pushed through the hallways. When she asked what the charges 
were or were the arrest order was, those in charge remained silent. 

7. She was denied access to communication with the outside world and was also 
denied water.

8. She was examined by a doctor who after looking at her from a distance 
declared her to show no evidence of having been harmed and obliged her to 
sign a declaration. 

9. Her request for the presence of a Human Rights official was denied.

10. She was obliged to be imprisoned with the other detainees when no formal 
declaration of legal action against her had been declared.

11. It wasn't until 1:30 am that Mart Terrazas arrived and identified herself 
as a staff memebr of the ministry of governance of the state of Chihuahua, at 
which point the journalist was able to call her family, amidst screams, and 
request the presence of a lawyer and human rights representative. 

For the past eight years, Isabel Arvide has denounced in various media and 
conferences, and has also written a book (Death in Juarez) about the 
corruption and involvement of corporations and police agents in the 
narcotrafficking in the state of Chihuahua. Because of this for the past five 
years she has required a full time bodyguard to protect her life. 

All these event together lead to the suspicion that there is a plot against 
her. These ways of acting do not conform with proper legal procedures in our 
country. The right to free expression and respect for individual rights are 
guaranteed by our constitution. This is a petition for the safety of Isabel 
Arvide. This aberrant abuse of authority is being made public.


Bruno Cárcamo Arvide

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