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Mexican anti-logging activist's death suspected to have been murder

A MEXICAN environmentalist found dead earlier this week had suffered head trauma and drowned, authorities have revealed, adding weight to his family’s fears that he was murdered.

Homero Gomez Gonzalez’s relatives warned that bad things are happening to human-rights and environmental activists in Mexico and that people are afraid.

The body of Mr Gomez Gonzalez, who was well known for his efforts to protect a forest where monarch butterflies spend the winter, was discovered on Wednesday near the nature reserve.

Michoacan state prosecutors initially reported that he had drowned and that they had found no signs of trauma, but on Thursday they said that more detailed autopsy results had discovered evidence of a head injury.

Authorities said an investigation was continuing, suggesting that the case was not considered an accident.

Mr Gomez Gonzalez fought to keep illegal loggers out of the reserve, leading marches, demonstrations and anti-logging patrols.

He also worked to convince about 260 fellow communal landowners that they should replant trees on land cleared for the growing of maize.

His brother, Amado Gomez, said: “Something strange is happening because they’re finishing off all the activists, the people who are doing something for society.

“A lot of the communal landowners fear that, with his death, the forests are finished.

“I would like to ask the authorities to do their job and do more to protect activists like my brother, because lately in Mexico a lot of activists have died.”

Global Witness counted 15 killings of environmental activists in Mexico in 2017 and 14 in 2018. In a report last October, Amnesty International said that 12 had been killed in the first nine months of 2019.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador described Mr Gomez Gonzalez’s death as “regrettable” and “painful.”

Greenpeace Mexico labelled it a murder.

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