Abducted Mexican journalist Moises Sanchez found dead

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An activist holds a picture of missing journalist Moises Sanchez in Mexico City on 4 January, 2015.Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Colleagues of Moises Sanchez fear he was targeted because of his open criticism of local authorities

Officials in Mexico say they have found the decapitated body of a journalist who had been missing for three weeks.

Moises Sanchez was abducted from his home in the eastern state of Veracruz by gunmen on 2 January.

He reported on corruption and violence for weekly newspaper La Union in the town of Medellin de Bravo.

Veracruz is among the most dangerous Mexican states for journalists to work in, according to Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights.

Gruesome discovery

Veracruz state prosecutor Luis Angel Bravo said Mr Sanchez's body had been found on the outskirts of Medellin de Bravo on Saturday.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Veracruz prosecutor Luis Angel Bravo said allegations had been made against the local mayor

Mr Bravo said a former police officer confessed to taking part in Mr Sanchez's murder.

The prosecutor also told reporters that the suspect said he had acted on orders from local Mayor Omar Cruz.

Mr Cruz has not commented on the allegations.

As mayor he enjoys immunity from prosecution, but Mr Bravo said he would ask for it to be withdrawn so Mr Cruz could be charged.

Missing students

Local media have compared the case to that of 43 students who went missing from the town of Iguala in south-western Guerrero state four months ago.

Image source, EPA
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The disappearance of 43 students on 26 September triggered mass protests

Investigators in the Iguala case said municipal police officers confessed to handing the students over to a gang which killed them.

Like the officer in the case of Moises Sanchez, the municipal police officers in Iguala alleged they were acting on the orders of the town's mayor, Jose Luis Abarca.

Mr Abarca, who denies the charges, is being held in a high-security jail in the capital, Mexico City.

The students' disappearance triggered a series of mass protests by Mexicans who say they are fed up with high levels of corruption and collusion between local authorities, the police and criminal gangs.

Relatives of the 43 are planning to march to Zocalo square in Mexico City on Monday to demand more be done to find them.

The remains of only one of the students have been identified so far.

The relatives of the 42 others say they will not give up their search until they have evidence of the students' deaths.