A police officer accused of torturing a journalist after she was detained in Cancún in 2005 was arrested in Puebla yesterday.
The federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) said in a statement that Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) officers had executed an arrest warrant against 53-year-old Alejandro R. “for his probable responsibility in the crime of torture.”
The suspect is actively employed in the state prosecutor’s office.
Lydia Cacho, one of Mexico’s best known investigative journalists, was arrested by Puebla state police in Cancún 13 years ago on defamation charges.
The police, operating 1,500 kilometers beyond their jurisdiction, were allegedly acting on the orders of then-Puebla governor Mario Marín and businessman Kamel Nacif, known as “El rey de la mezclilla” (the denim king).
Cacho’s arrest followed the publication of her 2005 book The Demons of Eden, in which she exposed a pedophile ring in Cancún that she alleged was run by businessman Jean Succar Kuri. He was later convicted of the crime.
Cacho also mentioned that Nacif was a friend of Succar and wrote about parties that he hosted at which she alleged children were sexually abused. Nacif subsequently filed a defamation complaint against her.
After Cacho was detained, police drove her 20 hours to Puebla, during which time they taunted her, threatened her with rape, forced a gun into her mouth and debated drowning her in the Gulf of Mexico’s Campeche Bay.
The journalist was later released from police custody on bail and the defamation charges against her were eventually dropped.
A recording of a telephone conversation was later leaked in which Nacif is heard congratulating governor Marín for arresting Cacho, ensuring that the case became a national scandal.
In August this year, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council rebuked Mexico over the case, stating that Cacho was arbitrarily detained, subjected to torture and gender violence and had her right to free speech violated.
The Human Rights Council ordered that reparation be paid to Cacho, that those responsible be held accountable and that measures be taken to avoid any repeat of a similar incident.
Cacho responded to news of yesterday’s arrest on Twitter.
“I’ve been defending myself from my torturers and the masterminds for 13 years; all of them accomplices of a child pornography and child-trafficking ring. For the past five days, I’ve had armed bodyguards and worn a bulletproof vest again. Today the third of 17 fell.”
Former Puebla police commander José Montaño Quiroz was sentenced last year to more than five years in jail for his role in the case.
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. At least 10 reporters have been killed in the country this year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The most recent murder was that of Nayarit reporter Alejandro Márquez Jiménez, whose body was found on December 1 near the state capital Tepic.