Mexican Court Weighs Punishment For Governor Who Ordered Arrest Of Cacho

By: E&P Staff Mexico's highest court is debating whether to recommend legal action against a state governor and two state attorneys general who conspired to illegally arrest and try freelance journalist Lydia Cacho who exposed a pedophile network protected by powerful politicians.

Cacho's 2005 book, "The Demons of Eden: The Powers That Protect Child Pornography," caused a sensation in the nation with its revelations of a ring of pedophiles and child pornographers -- a group of prominent businessmen protected, she said, by politicians in the state of Puebla.

One of those businessmen, denim textile magnate 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.

Then in February of 2006, 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 Mexico City-based press freedom group, the National Center for Social Communication (CENCOS) reported Monday that the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation have scheduled a debate and vote on whether to recommend to the legislature that it "initiate a political judgment against the governor, for organizing a conspiracy on the part of public employees of the state to arrest and try Cacho."

The court could also ask the Mexican equivalent of the federal Justice Department to take legal action against Puebla state Attorney General Blanca Laura Villeda Martinez and Quintana Roo state Attorney General Bello Melchor Rodriguez y Carrillo for conspiring to illegally detain the journalist.

CENCOS hailed the debate as "an important signal regarding (the magistrates') own autonomy and respect for freedom of expression in Mexico."

"The Supreme Court's debate constitutes a blow to the powers that be, who are trying to muzzle free expression in Mexico, where businessmen and representatives of the state powers and the judiciary collude to silence voices reporting on corruption and illegal acts by economically powerful groups that go unpunished," CENCOS said. "Simply by discussing the Cacho case, the magistrates are setting a precedent that will make exercising freedom of expression less fraught with uncertainties and danger. Freedom of expression has been a hostage of powerful criminal groups who threaten and even physically attack


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