Defamation case raises issues of fairness
JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
The New York Times
MEXICO CITY — A roiling scandal here over the attempts of a state governor to jail a reporter has raised questions about whether the rich and powerful are using their influence with politicians to silence critics.
It began in December when a Cancún journalist who had written a book about child pornography and pedophile rings in the resort town was arrested with no warning and driven across the country to the state of Puebla. The writer, Lydia Cacho, was then charged under state law with defaming a textile businessman, Kamel Nacif, in her book, “The Demons of Eden.” In her book, Cacho wrote that Nacif was a friend of Jean Succar Kuri, a man accused of pederasty in Cancún, and was paying for his legal defense.
Defamation and slander are criminal charges in Mexico, and Cacho was held briefly in jail before being released while state prosecutors began their investigation into the charges. In Mexico, with no grand jury system, an arrest can be made before the charges are substantiated.
Last week, however, someone gave an audiotape to a Mexican radio station and a national newspaper, La Jornada, that renewed the debate over Cacho’s arrest. The recording carries an ugly conversation celebrating Cacho’s arrest between two male voices that the journalists from the newspaper and the radio station said had been identified as the Puebla State governor, Mario Marín, and Nacif.
On the tape, the voice that is said to be the governor’s tells the other man that he has dealt a blow to someone presumed to be Cacho, using an expletive to refer to her. “I told her here in Puebla the law is respected, and there is no impunity,” the voice continues.
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