Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Ex-governor of Puebla ordered held in custody to face torture charges

A Cancún federal judge has ordered Puebla ex-governor Mario Marín Torres held without bail while he awaits a plea hearing in the kidnapping and torture of investigative journalist Lydia Cacho 14 years ago.

At his arraignment on February 4, Marín’s lawyers requested that his constitutional right of up to 144 hours to prepare a plea be doubled and that he be allowed to spend that time under house arrest instead of in jail. The request was denied.

Marín was detained in Acapulco on February 3 and taken to Cancún after a federal court issued a warrant for his arrest last year.

Marín allegedly had Puebla state police arrest Cacho in Cancún in December 2005 on defamation charges in retaliation for her book The Demons of Eden, which exposed a child pornography ring whose leader, Jean Succar Kuri, is now serving a 112-year sentence.

While she was driven 20 hours by the officers to Puebla to face charges, Cacho says she was continually threatened with rape, had a gun forced into her mouth and listened to the officers debating drowning her in the Gulf of Mexico’s Campeche Bay.

Cacho was later released from police custody on bail, and the defamation charges against her were eventually dropped.

The journalist’s book also talked about parties in which children were sexually abused, which she said were hosted by another businessman, Kamel Nacif, who later was connected to Marín and to Cacho’s kidnapping when a recorded telephone call between him and Marín surfaced.

Nacif — who remains a fugitive in Lebanon — congratulated Marín for having arrested Cacho, and told him he would send him cognac in appreciation and continually referred to Marín in the call as “my precious governor.”

The press freedom organization Article 19 celebrated the ruling to keep Marín in custody until his trial but also said in a released statement that more work had to be done to bring Cacho’s attackers to account.

“Justice will not be complete until the ex-governor is convicted and along with him, all those who planned [this crime] that remain fugitives,” the statement said, referring to Kacif as well as a former Puebla senior police official, Hugo Adolfo Karam Beltram, who is alleged to have been involved in Cacho’s arrest.

The organization also called for restitution to be paid to Cacho and her family, echoing a rebuke by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2018, which said that Cacho should be paid reparation.

Marín will be keeping some familiar company in the Cancún prison where he awaits his trial: Succar is serving his sentence there, and former Puebla police commander Alejandro Rocha Laureano, who was arrested in 2018, awaits trial there on torture charges in the case.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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