Mario Marin, then governor of the Mexican state of Puebla, is seen in Puebla on February 15, 2006. Yesterday, federal authorities arrested Marin for his alleged connection to the physical abuse in custody of journalist Lydia Cacho in 2005. (AP/Joel Merino)

Former Mexican governor arrested for role in abuse of journalist Lydia Cacho

Mexico City, February 4, 2020 – Mexican authorities should thoroughly investigate Mario Marín for his alleged connection to the physical abuse in custody of journalist Lydia Cacho, and ensure that all the perpetrators of that crime are held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday, federal authorities announced that they had arrested Marín, the former governor of the central Mexican state of Puebla, for his alleged involvement in the torture of Cacho while she was in police detention in 2005, according to news reports. Marín, who was governor from 2005 to 2011, was arrested in Acapulco yesterday and transferred to the city of Cancún, where a judge will determine his legal status, according to those reports.

In 2005, Puebla state police arrested Cacho for alleged defamation, and beat her while in custody, which a federal judge later classified as torture, according to news reports and CPJ reporting from the time.

“We applaud the long overdue arrest of one of the principal suspects in the 2005 torture of journalist Lydia Cacho, who has been waiting far too long for meaningful progress in her case,” said Jan-Albert Hootsen, CPJ’s Mexico representative. “Mexican authorities must not rest until all suspects in this heinous crime have been brought to justice.”

In 2005, Cacho, who covers human rights, gender violence, and human trafficking, published the book Los Demonios del Edén, which covered alleged links between businessmen and politicians and a child pornography ring.

On December 3, 2020, a judge in the city of Cancún ordered the arrests of Marín and two other suspects for alleged torture, according to a statement by Article 19, a press freedom group that represents Cacho in court. In 2019, a warrant had been issued for those arrests, but was suspended a month later, according to reports.

The other two suspects, businessman Kamel Nacif and former Puebla public security secretary Adolfo Karam, are still at large; two police officers accused of carrying out the torture are in custody and awaiting trial, according to news reports. Neither Marín nor the other suspects have publicly responded to the allegations.

CPJ called the Federal Prosecutor’s office for comment, but no one answered.