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Mexico To Investigate Beatings

May 23, 1998

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ The Mexican government’s human rights commission said Friday it has recommended an official investigation into the recent police beatings of two photojournalists in southern Chiapas.

The attack on The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse photographers occurred last month while immigration officials were deporting three Americans and nine other foreigners whom they accused of political activities that violated their tourist visas.

The photographers said police at the local airport struck them with rifle butts and seized their film. Pascual Gorriz Marcos of the AP suffered a gash on his head and Oriana Gonzalez Elicabe of AFP was bruised.

State officials blamed the photographers, saying Gonzalez Elicabe bit an officer and Gorriz kicked him. Both journalists disputed that account.

The human rights commission said Friday it had sent a letter to state Gov. Roberto Albores Guillen saying police had no right to expel the photographers from a non-restricted area or to take their film.

The commission also urged immigration officials to investigate the actions of those police officers involved in the airport fracas.

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