MEXICO: Supreme Court says governor may have violated journalist’s rights

JUNE 27, 2007

Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, freelance journalist

The Mexican Supreme Court of Justice declared on June 26 that there is enough evidence to prosecute high-ranking government officials on allegations of violating Cacho’s human rights when they plotted to arrest and assault the Mexican freelance journalist in December 2005. The high court said any prosecution would be postponed for now.

After a 14-month investigation, the Supreme Court announced that there was sufficient evidence to bring to trial Mario Marín, governor of the state of Puebla, and other government officials from the states of Puebla and Quintana Roo, according to press reports and CPJ interviews. The investigation, led by Justice Juan Silva Mesa, was based on hundreds of interviews, telephone records, and private documents, the Mexican news service Notimex reported.

The high court voted the same day to postpone any prosecution of Marín or the other officials until guidelines for the investigation of high-ranking officials have been drafted, the Mexican press reported. The court added that it wanted to give both legal teams time to prepare their arguments, according to the Mexico City daily Reforma.

Moreover, the Supreme Court found evidence to support Cacho’s allegations that a child prostitution ring operated in Puebla with the complicity of local police and politicians, which she published in May 2005 in her book The Demons of Eden.

Cacho told CPJ that she believes the court’s announcement is a step in the right direction, though she said she is still waiting for an official verdict.

In December 2005, police detained Cacho and drove her from Cancún in Quintana Roo to Puebla, alleging she failed to answer a court summons in a criminal defamation case filed by Puebla-based clothes manufacturer Jos… Camel Nacif Borge. The suit stemmed from Cacho’s book, in which she alleged that Nacif had ties to an accused pedophile. However, the charges were dropped in January 2006 for lack of evidence. In February, the Mexican press made public taped telephone conversations detailing a plot by Nacif and Mexican state officials, including Marín, to imprison and assault Cacho.