Former Puebla Governor Mario Marín Torres. Photo: Twitter

By KELIN DILLON

Mario Marín Torres, former governor of the central Mexican state of Puebla, was arrested in Acapulco, Guerrero, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, by the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) after two years on the run from authorities.

An arrest warrant was put out in 2019 by Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero, alongside a red Interpol notice, for Marín and his co-conspirator, Kamil Nacif Borge, for the kidnap and torture of journalist Lydia Cacho back in 2006.

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho. Photo: Google

Cacho published a book in 2005 titled “Demons of Eden,” which exposed alleged child sex-trafficking rings within Mexico and analyzed the networks of powerful people who contributed to, or enabled, the sexual abuse of children. Cacho name-dropped many wealthy businessman and politicians within the book, revealing their alleged role in the child pornography and prostitution ring, including Marín and Nacif, drawing their ire against her.

Following the book’s release, Cacho was arrested in Cancún by police from Puebla, under Marín’s orders, and driven some 900 miles back to Puebla, where she was briefly imprisoned on defamation charges. Cacho claimed she was verbally abused, tortured and threatened with death by the police during her arrest, and that she even overheard a conspiracy to rape her at the time.

Soon after her release on bail, phone conversations between Marín and Nacif were leaked by La Jornada on Feb. 14, 2006, that revealed the two men congratulating each other for successfully putting Cacho in jail, all while referencing the journalist in derogatory language. The leaked audio also revealed discussions between Marín and Nacif floating the idea of having Cacho beaten and abused while in jail in an effort to frighten her into silence. 

The journalist then went to Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) to file a suit regarding the civil rights violations she faced under Marín’s orders, making history as the first woman to ever testify in front of the SCJN. The court ruled six to four that Marín did not need to take accountability for Cacho’s claims, following their decision to exclude the leaked audio conversations from evidence.

“The ruling seems to me a blow to Mexican journalism,” said Cacho, following the ruling. “The Supreme Court has ruled that corrupt politicians always have more power than the victims of crime.”

Since the SCJN’s ruling, Cacho has lived under strict security measures, even leaving Mexico at times, as the United Nations Human Rights Council had advised her, due to fears of continued retaliation against her. Cacho continued to receive threats on her life, having a close call in 2008 when testifying at the trial of Jean Succar Kuri, another named pedophile in her book, when the lug nuts on the wheels of her car were loosened, leading to a car wreck that nearly killed her.

Charges were only brought against Marín and Nacif following the United Nations’  recognition of a violation of Cacho’s rights in 2019 and its demand to the Mexican government to levy charges against the perpetrators.

The administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) then publicly apologized to Cacho following pressure from the UN, and promised punishment for both Marín and Nacif. 

Nacif was arrested in July 2020 in Lebanon for his role in the kidnapping plot, now joined by Marín’s Wednesday, Feb. 3, arrest in Acapulco, and they both will now, after 15 years, face justice for their actions.

Cacho shared an image of Marín’s arrest on her Twitter account in celebration, saying “I have been seeking justice for 14 years for having been tortured by this accomplice of the #ChildPornography networks. Let’s go for everyone.”

Despite all threats against her, Cacho has continued her journalism career, having published 12 books on varying topics, winning numerous awards for her journalism. She was referred to by Amnesty International as “perhaps Mexico’s most famous investigative journalist and women’s rights advocate.”

…Feb. 5, 2021

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