January 28, 2021

Mexican Justice accused of corruption for journalist conviction



The Mexican journalist Sergio Aguayo and various NGOs have accused today, Thursday, of corruption to the Judicial Power of Mexico for the sentence to pay 10 million pesos, about 535,000 dollars, issued against this informant for “moral damage” caused to a former provincial governor whom he called corrupt in an opinion piece.

This Wednesday, the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) accepted the appeal filed by Aguayo against the judgment of a court of the Superior Court of Justice of Mexico City, considering that the sentence for reparation of moral damage to the former governor of Coahuila, Humberto Moreira, may constitute a violation of freedom of expression.

“The announcement of the SCJN is a liberation of the dungeon in which the Judiciary has become in Mexico City,” Aguayo said from Thursday, from Madrid, where he is on an academic trip.

The journalist added that, so far, their actions have been of no use “because the Judicial Power of the Mexican capital continued to fail against me and harass me, showing the existence of a network of complicity between some judges and magistrates with the plaintiff (Humberto Moreira) “.

“We are facing a judicial harassment rarely seen in more than 25 years of litigation,” said lawyer Héctor Beristain, defender of Aguayo, who stressed that the fine imposed is much greater than that established in case of abuse of the right of freedom of expression.

For her part, the representative of the Civic Proposal organization, Sara Mendiola, said that these types of lawsuits are recurring and increasingly frequent by public authorities.

“The only purpose he seeks is to inhibit journalistic activity,” he said and said the sentence against Aguayo “is a clear example of how corruption operates in the judiciary.”

In turn, the representative of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), Jan Albert Hootsein, asked the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to recognize the scenario of violence, censorship and harassment suffered by journalists in Mexico and that gets worse every year.

The Aguayo case has transcended beyond Mexico and, for example, in October 2019, when there was already a first millionaire sentence – which was appealed – against the journalist, the Inter-American Press Association (SIP) considered “exorbitant and disproportionate” the amount.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico (UN-DH) also expressed concern and urged the urgent approval of the regulatory framework for the protection of the right to honor and reputation.

Reporters Without Borders also condemned the sentence in October, in a document signed by CPJ and Civic Proposal.

“What we see is the pernicious use of the Mexican State apparatus, of the judicial system, to silence journalists,” Ana Cristina Ruelas, director of the organization Article 19, explained Wednesday in an interview with Efe.

THE CASE IS BACK TO 2016

On January 20, 2016, the academic and journalist Sergio Aguayo published an opinion article in the newspaper Reforma, which was reproduced in other newspapers in the country, where the former governor of Coahuila (2005-2011) Humberto Moreira talked about the performance.

“Moreira is a politician who gives off the corrupt stench; that in the best of scenarios he was ignored before terrible human rights violations committed in Coahuila and that, finally, he is a bearer of the renowned Mexican impunity,” Aguayo wrote in January 2016, when Moreira was imprisoned in Spain.

Moreira, former president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) during 2011, was in jail accused of embezzlement and money laundering during his term.

Five months later, in June 2016, Moreira sued Aguayo for that opinion piece.

According to Moreira, Aguayo wrote that text to “offend, insult, slander and offend” which undermined his “feelings, affections, beliefs, decorum and reputation.”

This Wednesday, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said that Humberto Moreira had already been accused in Mexico of illicit enrichment but was exonerated before the end of the mandate of President Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), a fact that already He had denounced before presenting official documents.

In 2013, it was learned that Moreira resided in Sant Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona), a town to which, according to his own statements, he moved after the murder of his son José Eduardo in October 2012, apparently at the hands of alleged members of the Los Zetas poster.

Moreira was arrested in Spain, in January 2016, for money laundering from drug trafficking and other crimes. The judge of the National Court Santiago Pedraz filed the investigation in 2016 when he found no evidence that he was laundering money from drug trafficking or corruption in Spain, a decision that was later confirmed by the Criminal Chamber of the National Court. However, the same judge reopened the investigation against Moreira in 2018.

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