The accused journalist and the Puebla businessman square off in a judicial hearing on the allegation she damaged his reputation.
CANCÚN – A muckraking journalist who wrote a book about the sexual-tourism trade of Cancún involving minors came face-to-face here in court with a textile magnate known as “The Denim King” who accused her of damaging his reputation for linking him to the sordid trade.
“This trial against me is a subterfuge that defends pedophile Jean Succar Kuri,” writer Lydia Cacho said in a court session here Wednesday.
Cacho, author of “Los demonios del Edén,” rejected evidence presented by the plaintiff, textile magnate Kamel Nacif.
During the session before Judge Gilberto de Jesús Herrera, Nacif said he wished to move forward with his libel suit against Cacho and presented what he said was proof to back his allegations, including statements from the purported victims of pedophilia.
Nacif denounced Cacho for including him in her book, which identified the textile magnate as a friend and protector of Lebanese- born businessman Jean Succar Kuri, who allegedly ran a pedophilia ring in Cancún.
Cacho questioned the partiality of the legal process against her and said it was a maneuver to defend the individual who ran the pedophilia network.
The journalist said she wanted to challenge the purported evidence presented by Nacif, but the judge did not allow her questions.
Cacho, who is free on bail, said at the end of the hearing that the judge´s actions were “very tendentious.”
This was the first face-to-face meeting between Cacho and Nacif since the journalist´s arrest last December.
The trial was moved to Cancún after recordings surfaced of phone conversations in which Nacif planned Cacho´s arrest with Puebla Gov. Mario Marín.
In February, the case against Cacho took on political overtones with the broadcast of parts of a taped telephone conversation that the press attributes to Marín and Nacif in which they speak about jailing Cacho and about a plan to have her raped in the prison in the city of Puebla.
A man thought to be Nacif is heard saying in more than one exchange that he had arranged for “the crazies and the tortilleras (Mexican slang for lesbians)” to sexually assault Cacho in the women´s prison in Puebla.
Cacho was arrested in Cancún in December by Puebla state police on a contempt citation for failing to appear in a libel and slander case filed against her by Nacif.
The venue for the criminal trial was subsequently changed from Puebla to Cancún. If convicted, Cacho could be sent to prison for up to four years.
The putative transcripts indicate the businessman engineered Cacho´s arrest by bribing court personnel not to send her the requisite summonses and that he maintained frequent contacts with the judge hearing the case.
Marín has said the tapes are false.
Cacho, who writes columns for two Mexico City weeklies and is the director of CIAM, an organization providing assistance to victims of rape and domestic violence, was arrested in December on libel and slander charges leveled by Nacif.
She won a partial victory in January when a court agreed to quash the indictment against her for slander, but let the libel charge stand.
Libel, which involves published writing that allegedly damages a person´s reputation, is generally the more serious charge. Slander is characterized by oral communication of false statements injurious to an individual´s good name.
In Mexico, as in some other Latin American nations, libel and slander are criminal offenses rather than civil ones, and Cacho had to post bail to remain free.
Succar Kuri was apprehended last year by U.S. authorities in Arizona acting on a Mexican warrant. He remains jailed pending possible extradition on charges of purveying child pornography.