An activist with Javier Sicilia's Movement for Peace has been found dead, with signs of torture, close to his home in Michoacan, west Mexico.
Less than 24 hours after he was reported missing, the badly beaten body of Jose Trinidad de la Cruz Crisoforo, a peace activist in his seventies, was found near the town of Aquila in Michoacan state.
According to authorities, the corpse bore signs of torture. De la Cruz was found with his hands tied behind his back and at least four bullet wounds, and his left ear was almost detached.
Other activists told press that de la Cruz had been beaten and threatened with death in June. As a result of this intimidation he left his home, but returned in October.
De la Cruz is the third member of the Movement for Peace to be assassinated in recent months. Pedro Leyva Dominguez was murdered in October, and prominent activist Nepomuceno Moreno Nunez, known as "Don Nepo,” was murdered in the northwestern state of Sonora in November.
Clara Judsiman, a spokesperson for the movement, said that the death of the three activists and the recent kidnappings of two others are part of a "strategy of intimidation to silence human rights defenders.”
The Movement for Peace, led by poet Javier Sicila, has gained increasing prominence in recent months. The movement organizes large-scale protest marches across Mexico, calling for an end to gang violence and reform of the government's methods in the fight against organized crime.