In Closely Watched Case, Judge Says Libel Not a Crime in Mexico City

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By: E&P Staff

Declaring that libel is not a crime in Mexico City, a judge has dismissed defamation charges against a journalist whose book about a pedophilia ring created a political sensation in Mexico, the Mexico City daily El Universal reported.

Judge Lorenzo Medina declared that journalist Lydia Cacho was in “absolute liberty,” the newspaper reported Wednesday. The charges actually were dismissed Dec. 22, but were not made public until this week, the paper said.

Cacho’s book, “Demons of Eden,” accused several prominent businessmen in the state of Puebla of involvement in pedophilia. One of those businessmen, Kamel Nacif Borge, filed criminal libel charges against her. In December 2005, police officers from Puebla arrested her in Cancun, nearly 1,000 miles from the state. She was held for 30 hours in a Puebla jail before being released on bail.

Last February, tapes of phone conversations purportedly between Nacif and Puebla Gov. Mario Marin were made public. In the conversation, the two are heard apparently plotting to jail Cacho.

The case was moved from Pueblo to Mexico City by the Mexican Supreme Court, which ruled Cacho could not get a fair trial in the state.

Cacho’s case had been publicized by the Inter American Press Association and other press freedom groups, which argued the criminal charges were an attempt to intimidate her.

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