The conviction of a prominent Mexican journalist sets a dangerous precedent for freedom of expression, writes Enrique Bravo-Escobar, Ph.D., Senior Program Officer for Latin America & the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Sergio Aguayo Quezada (above) wrote a column in January 2016 about the corruption of Humberto Moreira, a former governor of Coahuila state and former president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). In July 2016, Moreira sued him for “moral damage” (civil defamation). Aguayo won the case in the first civil court on April 1, 2019 but Moreira appealed the resolution, and the case went to the next court. on October 10, 2019, that court reversed that ruling, now ruling in favor of Moreira. A few days ago, the court ordered Aguayo to pay 10 million pesos (approximately US$500,000).
The judge has been accused of conflict of interest, because of relatives’ dealings with the Moreira brothers. Ruben Moreira, the brother of Humberto and also former governor of Coahuila, awarded an important legal position (notaria) to the brother of the magistrate that is deciding the case.
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