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Mexican Women Journalists Killed In Apparent Gender Crime

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MEXICAN JOURNALISTS
AP

MEXICO CITY — Authorities are investigating the killings of two women as gender crimes after their bound, naked bodies were found in a Mexico City park, the capital's chief prosecutor said Friday.

Mexico City law requires prosecutors to investigate such crimes involving women as gender-related, said Miguel Mancera.

But investigators will not ignore other potential motives, including possible connections to a money-exchange business owned by one of the victims or the fact that both women had been journalists.

Money exchanges at Mexico City's international airport have been targeted by thieves in the past.

In an interview with MVS radio, Mancera did not say whether the women had been sexually assaulted. Autopsies showed that Rocio Gonzalez and Marcela Yarce were strangled with rope and later shot. Their hands were tied behind their backs.

Yarce helped found the news magazine Contralinea. The magazine's director, Miguel Badillo, told MVS that Yarce sold advertising for the publication but she was no longer reporting for it.

The magazine has sharply criticized the government, and Badillo said Friday that it has not been given any government advertising. He also said the publication has faced lawsuits from companies and individuals angered by its reporting.

He said that by selling advertising, Yarce played "a key role" in helping the magazine survive. But she wasn't involved in any of the magazine's investigation nor had she receive threats, according to the Inter American Press Association.

"We deeply condemn these acts and urge the authorities not to discount any hypothesis," said press association chairman Gonzalo Marroquin said in a statement. "We have enough experience in recent years to know not to prejudge any acts against a journalist before a thorough investigation."

Apart from the lawsuits, "there is nothing else that would make us suspect that this event was related to her (Yarce's) journalistic work," Mancera said.

Gonzalez was involved in a project for an in-house publication for an unspecified corporation and was a former reporter for the Televisa television network, Badillo said.

Two joggers discovered the women's bodies Thursday near a cemetery in El Mirador park in the poor, crowded neighborhood of Iztapalapa.

The city Attorney General's Office said Gonzalez was 48 years old. Relatives told local news media that Yarce was 45.

Mexico's Human Rights Commission said Thursday night that it would open its own investigation into the homicides.

"The aggression, threats, intimidation and persecution that media workers suffer inhibit and limit free speech," the commission said in a statement.

It said eight journalists have been killed in Mexico this year and 74 since 2000. Other press groups cite lower numbers.

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