A man in Mexico has been given a 50-year prison sentence for ordering the killing of a prominent journalist.
Miroslava Breach, who covered drugs violence and corruption in the country, was one of 11 journalists murdered in 2017 in Mexico.
Prosecutors said the lengthy prison term for Juan Carlos Moreno set a precedent in cases involving crimes against free expression.
Some 90% of attacks on journalists in the country reportedly go unsolved.
A press rights group, Propuesta Cívica, urged the Mexican authorities to investigate such attacks.
Four journalists have been killed this year, according to journalism watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which describes Mexico as “one of world’s deadliest countries for the media”.
“Collusion between officials and organized crime poses a grave threat to journalists’ safety and cripples the judicial system at all levels,” it says.
Why was Miroslava Breach targeted?
The 54-year-old was shot eight times in her car outside her home in the city of Chihuahua on 23 March 2017. One of her children was in the vehicle but was not hurt.
Breach had reported on organised crime, drug-trafficking and corruption for a national newspaper, La Jornada, and a regional newspaper, Norte de Ciudad Juárez.
Her killers left a note saying: “For being a loud-mouth.”
Prosecutors say she was murdered “with premeditation” after being sent intimidating messages meant to impinge on her freedom of expression, AFP news agency reports.
Moreno was convicted of being the “intellectual author” of Breach’s murder.
According to the El Paso Times, Moreno was allegedly the “jefe de pistoleros” (leader of gunmen) – for Los Salazar, a faction of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
The man suspected of the actual shooting, Ramon Zavala, was himself killed by unidentified assailants.
How will the journalist be remembered?
In 2018, the UN and AFP launched an award to honour journalists who risked their lives covering human rights abuses in Mexico.
The prize was created in tribute to Breach and another murdered journalist, Javier Valdez.
Javier Valdez, known for his award-winning coverage of the drug trade, was shot dead by unidentified attackers in Culiacán in the north-western state of Sinaloa, where he lived and worked, on 15 May 2017.
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