Mexican Reporter Pleads Today for US Asylum

Journalist says he received death threats daily before fleeing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 21, 2011 4:21 AM CST
Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez Soto, right, and attorney Carlos Spector meet with journalists following his release from detention.   (AP Photo/The El Paso Times, Victor Calzada)

(Newser) – A Mexican journalist who says he fled across the border with his teenage son in 2008 after receiving daily death threats while covering his nation's bloody drug war is scheduled to plead his case for asylum before a US federal judge today. Emilio Gutierrez Soto and his son, then 15, showed up at a border checkpoint in New Mexico and declared their intent to seek asylum. Gutierrez had written a series of stories about alleged Mexican military abuses of civilians.

Gutierrez's long wait for an asylum hearing has included seven months at a federal detention center in El Paso, separated from his son. His court date comes 4 months after another Mexican journalist, Jorge Luis Aguirre, claimed similar threats and won asylum in the US, making him the first reporter to receive asylum since Mexico's bloody drug war erupted and cartels began targeting the media to silence coverage.

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