Alejandro Sicairos was selected for surveillance by a Mexican client of NSO Group, several days after the murder of his colleague Javier Valdez. Forbidden Stories could not confirm the infection since he did not keep the text messages he received in 2016.
Sicairos is the fourth person close to Javier Valdez to have been targeted with Pegasus following the journalist’ murder. The 2017 Gobierno Espira report already revealed that his wife Griselda Triana and his two colleagues Andres Vilarreal et Ismael Bojorquez were also targeted with Pegasus.
Who is he ?
Alejandro Sicairos is the founder of Riodoce, a critical newspaper in Sinaloa, a Mexican state where the eponymous cartel operates. In October 2013, the journalist, who could no longer bear the threats he was receiving from the cartels, quit from the newspaper. At that point, he had already taken the habit of staying inside on Sundays – the day the newspaper was printed – as he feared for his own life.
Despite leaving the newspaper, he stayed in touch with Javier Valdez, who had become an AFP correspondent in Sinaloa and kept writing for Riodoce. When Valdez was murdered, Sicairos and a group of reporters he had gathered went to meet with the governor to ask for the truth to come out. He tried to help the investigation and testified to the prosecutor in charge, Ricardo del Pozo.
In June 2017, he became the director of an association denouncing the impunity that allowed crimes against journalists to continue. They tried to pressure the local governor as the investigation into Valdez’s murder was stalling.
At the time, anonymous posts on social media suggested that Sicairos could have been a witness, or even an accomplice, of Valdez’s assassination. For Sicairos, this was an attempt to “discredit him and his fight.”
Since 2017, Sicairos has been the director of Espejo magazine’s website and he regularly contributes to the Noreste newspaper.
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NSO Group did not answer Forbidden Stories’ questions on specific targets but said it “will continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based on the results of these investigations.”