Father Jose Luis Sanchez Ruiz, the Mexican priest who was abducted last week in the state of Veracruz, has been found alive, but with signs of torture. The Roman Catholic Church confirmed the news on Sunday (13 November).

His abduction had sparked two days of protest in the town of Catemaco. Ruiz is the third Roman Catholic priest who disappeared in the eastern state since September. While the previous two were found dead, Ruiz was lucky to save his life.

According to the clerics of the Church, he was kidnapped because he fought corruption.

"He had received threats in recent days because he is a defender of human rights. He has criticised the system of corruption and the crime problem in Catemaco," Father Aaron Reyes, a spokesman for the diocese, said.

He also added that Ruiz "had been dumped, with notable signs of torture'' at a secret location.

The Roman Catholic priests' abduction has sparked controversy over their safety in Mexico. According to reports, at least 30 priests have been murdered in the drug-hit country in the last decade in which most of the cases happened in areas affected by drug violence.

In September, another priest - Jose Alfredo Lopez Guillen - was found dead in the state of Michoacan. Guillen was kidnapped from his home on 19 September in Janamuato, in western Mexico while his body was found on the side of a highway in Las Guayabas in Sonora between Puruandiro and Zinaparo on 24 September.

According to Mexico's Catholic Media Center, Veracruz, Guerrero and Michoacan are the most dangerous regions for priests.