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Mexico23 January 2006

Lydia Cacho gets trial moved to her home state

A court agreed on 20 January that Lydia Cacho Ribeiro’s trial on a charge of criminal defamation should be held in the eastern state of Quintana Roo, where she works as a journalist and is a women’s and children’s rights activist. Cacho claimed she could not get a fair trial in the southeastern state of Puebla because José Camel Nacif, the Puebla-based businessman who is suing her, has good connections with the authorities there. Cacho linked Camel Nacif to a child pornography ring in a 2004 book. No date has been set for the trial.

17.01.06 - Court drops one of the counts of defamation against Lydia Cacho Ribeiro

A court in the state of Puebla has dropped one of the counts of criminal defamation against writer Lydia Cacho Ribeiro but has maintained the other, so she is still facing the possibility of a four-year prison sentence for linking Puebla-based businessman José Camel Nacif to a child pornography ring in her 2004 book “Demons of Eden”. Cacho meanwhile maintains that she will not get a fair trial in Puebla because of Camel Nacif’s close links with the local authorities there, and has asked to be tried in the eastern state of Quintana Roo, where she lives and works, or by a federal court. The Puebla court has a week to rule on her request.

26.12.05 - Criminal libel charges upheld against Cacho but she remains free pending trial

Puebla state judge Celia Pérez González ruled on 23 December that journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro will have to stand trial on criminal libel charges that carry a prison sentence, but she can remain free while awaiting trial. However, she will have to report to the judge in Puebla once a month until the trial, for which no date has yet been set. Cacho, who has meanwhile decided to bring a complaint against the Puebla state government and prosecutor’s office, is being sued by textile magnate José Camel Nacif because she named him as an alleged member of a paedophile ring in her 2004 book “Demons of Eden.”

22.12.05 - Investigative journalist faces possible prison sentence for libel

Reporters Without Borders voiced alarm today at the possibility that Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, a writer and freelance contributor to the Cancún-based daily La Voz del Caribe, could receive a prison sentence for alleged libel in a 2004 book about a paedophile ring.

Cacho, who was detained in a heavy-handed and threatening fashion by police for 48 hours last weekend, is due to appear tomorrow before a judge in Puebla state (1,500 km from her home in Cancún).

“Lydia Cacho is a recognised investigative journalist and activist on behalf of women’s and children’s rights whose work and commitment have upset some politicians and businessmen and have resulted in her receiving many death threats in the past”, Reporters Without Borders said.

“We fear that the libel action brought against her a year after the book was published is meant to reduce her to silence,” the press freedom organisation continued. “We hope the courts will decide that this case should be a civil and not a criminal one, and will also clarify the circumstances of her brief detention last weekend.”

As well as being a journalist, Cacho founded and runs the Cancún-based Centre for Complete Assistance to Women (CIAM). In October 2003, she began investigating a child pornography ring run by a Mexican businessman of Lebanese origin, Jean Succar Kuri, who is now detained in Arizona, in the United States, pending approval of a Mexican extradition request.

On the basis of her research, Cacho wrote a book entitled “Demons of Eden” that was published in 2004. It claimed there were links between the paedophile ring and a number of government officials, politicians, businessmen and drug traffickers. One of the businessmen mentioned in the book, Puebla-based textile magnate José Camel Nacif, has brought a complaint against Cacho for criminal libel, which is punishable by imprisonment under Puebla state laws.

Puebla police travelled to Cancún, the capital of Quintana Roo state, and arrested Cacho there on 16 December on the alleged grounds that she had ignored repeated summonses from a judge in Puebla. Cacho told Reporters Without Borders in an e-mail message she never received any summonses.

After arresting her, the police took her back to Puebla by road. Cacho said she was threatened and mistreated during the trip, which lasted more than 20 hours. In her presence, the police joked about “these prisoners who end up being found dead”, she said.

In all, she was held for nearly 48 hours, during which time she was not allowed to see a lawyer or get medical help. She was finally freed after paying bail of 6,500 dollars. In an e-mail message to the CIMAC news agency on 20 December, she said she expected to get a definitive ruling on her case by a Puebla court tomorrow.

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in the annual report
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