Killing of Mexican prosecutor of crimes against women sparks outcry

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The European Union on Thursday condemned the killing of a female Mexican prosecutor who specialized in violence against women, as the country grapples with its worst murder rate in two decades, including a spate of attacks on rights workers and reporters.

Yendi Guadalupe Torres Castellanos, a prosecutor in the state of Veracruz whose remit included violence against women as well as sexual and family-related crimes, was killed Monday in her car in the city of Panuco, according to the state government.

“This murder demonstrates once more the troubling level of violence that devastates Mexico, including violence against human rights defenders,” the EU’s Mexican delegation said in a joint statement with Swiss and Norwegian ambassadors.

Earlier this month, unknown gunmen shot dead Silvestre de la Toba, the head of the Baja California Sur state human rights commission.

And, after a spate of killings of reporters, a United Nations team of experts on freedom of expression is currently visiting Mexico to assess the safety of journalists.

Torres’ death was also denounced by the Veracruz government, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

October was the most violent since the Mexican government began tracking such crimes two decades ago.

The 2,735 homicides of women last year was the second-highest figure of any year since 1990, and more than double the number recorded a decade ago, according to data published by Mexico’s national statistics agency.

Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher, Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Julia Love, Daina Beth Solomon and Michael Perry