OAXACA, Mexico – A man suspected of shooting a reporter during a disturbance in this southern Mexican city was arrested Friday, the Oaxaca state Public Safety Office said.
Salvador Hernandez Bustamante was to be questioned by prosecutors, the office said.
Ixtli Martinez, a correspondent for MVS radio, is in stable condition at Aurelio Valdivieso Hospital in Oaxaca after being shot in the leg Thursday at the scene of a violent clash over control of the law school building at Benito Juarez Autonomous University.
Police arrested 39 students after the incident, but 35 were subsequently freed for lack of evidence.
The state attorney general, Maria de la Luz Candelaria Chiñas, vowed at a press conference here that the shooting of Martinez, 33, will not go unpunished.
Earlier Friday, Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission asked the Oaxaca state government to provide protection for Martinez.
“We are verifying what actions authorities are taking to fulfill the function that corresponds to them,” commission chairman Raul Plascencia told MVS radio.
He said he sent a team from the commission to Oaxaca to determine who shot Martinez and to prevent the crime from going unpunished, “as happens on many occasions.”
While acknowledging she didn’t know who was behind the shooting, Martinez noted that her reporting had often brought her into conflict with the administration of Oaxaca Gov. Ulises Ruiz.
“I don’t rule out that this is, or could have been, with the goal of hurting me directly because this person (the shooter) aimed at me and there were plenty of people around me, including more reporters,” she said on MVS, vowing to “keep working.”
“I am strong and I don’t scare at the first try. I’m happy to take on the responsibility, in this case as a reporter,” she said.
Martinez’s husband is journalist Virgilio Sanchez, whose stories in Mexico City daily Reforma have also been critical of Gov. Ruiz, a powerful figure in the Oaxaca branch of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
Oaxaca voters will go the polls July 4 to elect mayors, state lawmakers and a successor to Ruiz. The gubernatorial contest features the PRI’s Eviel Perez against challenger Gabino Cue, who is backed by a coalition of parties.
U.S. independent journalist Brad Will was fatally shot in Oaxaca in October 2006 while reporting on a months-long conflict pitting labor and grassroots groups against Ruiz. EFE