MEXICO CITY — A press advocacy group for the Americas expressed serious concern Wednesday that charges had been dropped against a man charged in a 1997 attack on a journalist in Mexico.
Marco Antonio Quinones, known as "El Pato," had been accused of an assassination attempt that wounded Jesus Blancornelas, editor of the Mexican weekly Zeta, and killed his bodyguard.
A ruling by the Sixth District Criminal Court of Mexico, however, recently dismissed the charges.
The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expressed what it called its "highest level" complaint to the Mexican government for its failings in prosecuting the attack against Blancornelas, "which remains unpunished after 14 years," the group said in a statement.
Quinones had been identified by the Mexican attorney general's office as one of the 10 hitmen involved in the attack, which authorities alleged was planned by the Tijuana Cartel.
Quinones is serving a sentence of just over 12 years for organized crime as a member of the cartel. He is scheduled to be released in October 2016, the IAPA said.
Zeta, known for its coverage of government corruption and drug trafficking, "has been one of the Mexican media outlets to suffer the most direct attacks in recent years," according to the press group.
"For the IAPA this is proof that the government has not carried out its duty to prevent this case, and many others, from going unpunished," said Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz, chairman of the group's impunity committee.
Mexico has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists amid a raging feud between drug cartels that has left more than 70,000 people dead since 2006.
Mexico's ombudsman in May said 84 journalists had been murdered since 2000 and 20 more had disappeared in the past eight years, while authorities had failed to solve 91 percent of the crimes.